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  • AQA Component 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

The article discusses the populist right-wing Reform UK Party, which is polling at 10 per cent nationally. In the Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections, won by Labour, it matched or exceeded this figure. The article suggests that Reform’s performance may influence the Conservative party, pushing it to the right in a bid to win back voters who have deserted it. It also provides evidence that Reform UK is not doing as well as Ukip almost a decade ago, at the same point in the electoral cycle.

However, if Reform UK runs candidates across the country, this may inadvertently help Labour or Liberal Democrat candidates to defeat Conservatives in many marginal seats, under the first past the post voting system. Its fortunes may also improve significantly if its low-key leader, Richard Tice, is replaced by the much better-known and more charismatic figure of Nigel Farage.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

Reform’s success is not the real story of the by-elections

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Explain and analyse three effects of minor parties on UK politics. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that minor parties have limited influence in UK politics. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: You should consider the impact of at least one other minor UK party. Here, for example, is an article that speculates on whether the SNP is going to lose its once-dominant position in Scotland to the Labour party: ‘On a knife edge’: Humza Yousaf seeks to fend off Labour in Scotland

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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