Liberal Democrats (UK)

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In the United Kingdom, the Liberal Democrats are a political party, currently under the leadership of Sir Ed Davey. Commonly called the "Lib Dems", they are the result of a 1988 merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the new party originally being called the Social and Liberal Democrats (SLD). It adopted the current name in October 1989.

Among the mainstream parties, they are generally centre-left.

They describe themselves as existing

to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

The party entered into a coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010, but lost heavily in the 2015 election, returning only 8 Members of Parliament (down from 57 in 2010). In the June 2017 election, the party returned 12 MPs and Tim Farron stepped down as leader. Sir Vince Cable succeeded him unopposed. Cable led the party until July 2019 when he decided to leave politics after the next general election. He was replaced by Jo Swinson who lost her seat in the 2019 election. The current leader is Sir Ed Davey who won a leadership contest in August 2020.

International activities

For international democracy promotion in emerging countries, the party cooperates with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).