Politics class: Britain’s tiny Tea Party casts a big shadow
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AQA Component 22.214.171.124: Political parties: policies of minor parties and their impact on political debates and political agenda
Edexcel Component 1, Section 2.3: Emerging and minor UK political parties
Background: what you need to know
This article focuses on Reform UK, the successor to the Brexit Party, which has recently held its conference in Derby. The author compares it to the Tea Party, which pushed the US Republican Party to the right a decade ago. The First Past the Post system seriously limits its chances of electoral success. Nevertheless, an awareness of Reform UK’s appeal to grassroots Tory voters may pressure the Conservative party to adopt more rightwing populist policies.
The article draws a parallel with the way that fear of losing voters to Ukip influenced David Cameron’s decision to hold the 2016 EU referendum. It also highlights Reform UK’s strong media profile, which is disproportionate to its actual level of support.
Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
Explain and analyse three ways in which minor parties can have significance in UK politics. [9 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1
Evaluate the view that minor parties play an important role in UK politics.
You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]
TIP: Can you think of other minor political parties that have exercised influence in UK politics in recent years? The Scottish National Party counts as a minor party at UK level, although it has enjoyed remarkable success as Scotland’s largest party. Read this article on its current difficulties: The implosion of the Scottish National party
Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School