History UsefulNotes / BritishPoliticalSystem

24th Feb '17 10:54:31 AM OlfinBedwere
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The Conservatives unexpectedly won a majority of 12 in the 2015 general election, largely at the expense of their former coalition partners the Liberal Democrats. It should be noted that the Conservatives are [[Understatement not particularly popular in Scotland]], with the joke being that there are currently twice as many pandas in Scotland than there are Tory [=MPs=].\\

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The Conservatives unexpectedly won a majority of 12 in the 2015 general election, largely at the expense of their former coalition partners the Liberal Democrats. It should be noted that the Conservatives are [[Understatement not particularly popular in Scotland]], Scotland, with the joke being that there are currently twice as many pandas in Scotland than there are Tory [=MPs=].[=MPs=], although their popularity ''has'' started to recover somewhat since Ruth Davidson took over the Scottish Conservative Party, who currently regularly poll an admittedly distant second behind the SNP in Hollyrood elections.\\



Miliband resigned shortly after losing, triggering another leadership election. Initially pretty much no one cared, but the elevation of dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn from an outsider to front runner to actual ''winner'' galvanised supporters and the public throughout the contest, with him being seen by many as the only alternative to a "Tory-lite" leader. Corbyn, a veteran socialist on the "hard left" of Labour, developed enormous popularity among the party's rank and file membership, but most Labour [=MPs=] have been less enthusiastic about his leadership, with many fearing his radical views would doom the party in a general election. In summer 2016, conflict between Corbyn and the Parliamentary Party culminated in yet another leadership challenge less than a year into his premiership. Corbyn's loyal support among membership won that election by an even greater margin, and, for better for worse, Labour has cemented its shift toward the left.

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Miliband resigned shortly after losing, triggering another leadership election. Initially pretty much no one cared, but the elevation of dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn from an outsider to front runner to actual ''winner'' galvanised supporters and the public throughout the contest, with him being seen by many as the only alternative to a "Tory-lite" leader. Corbyn, a veteran socialist on the "hard left" of Labour, developed enormous popularity among the party's rank and file membership, but most Labour [=MPs=] have been less enthusiastic about his leadership, with many fearing his radical views would doom the party in a general election. In summer 2016, conflict between Corbyn and the Parliamentary Party culminated in yet another leadership challenge less than a year into his premiership. Corbyn's loyal support among membership won that election by an even greater margin, and, for better for worse, Labour has cemented its shift toward the left. While the press has increasingly written the party off as being in terminal decline and likely to fall down to third-party status before too long, the historical difficulty for smaller parties to break into the "big two" may well save them in the longer haul.



With the UK voting in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, thereby removing the party's entire reason for existence, they are now in the process of wondering what on Earth to do now. As a result, currently suffering from chronic (possibly terminal) revolving door leadership.

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With the UK voting in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, thereby removing the party's entire reason for existence, they are now in the process of wondering what on Earth to do now. As Following the referendum the party had a result, currently suffering disastrous few months in which long-standing leader Nigel Farage retired, only for his favoured successor to be unable to stand to replace him due to not filing the correct paperwork in time (and subsequently resigning from chronic (possibly terminal) revolving door leadership.
the party following a physical altercation with another MEP). Farage's eventual successor, Diane James resigned from the leadership after just a few weeks, leaving Farage back in charge until ''another'' leadership election installed Paul Nuttall as leader. While Nuttall's appointment was widely praised by the press and claimed by some to be what the party needed to finally displace Labour, his attempt at getting into parliament via a by-election in February 2017 ended in failure, putting the party back to square one.
23rd Jan '17 11:40:08 AM CuriousQuasit
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'''[6 [=MSPs=], 12 local.)--]'''\\

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'''[6 '''[--(6 [=MSPs=], 12 local.)--]'''\\
23rd Jan '17 11:37:40 AM CuriousQuasit
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An extremely important thing to note about the British government is that it is more or less synonymous with Parliament (the Civil Service notwithstanding): all authority flows from Westminster. Indeed, the "keystone" of the British constitutional order as identified by the celebrated [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._V._Dicey AV Dicey]] is this: "''Parliament...has...the right to make or unmake any law whatever, and further, that no person or body is recognized by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of parliament.''"[[note]]Indeed, it has been said that if the UK Parliament wanted to make it illegal for an American to smoke on the streets of Washington DC, it can. Enforcing that law would be another matter.[[/note]] This setup is a result of the English Civil War (1641–51), the result of which was the monarchy handing over all its power (which in the Tudor era had been ''de facto'' absolute) to Parliament—a process helped by the fact that George I and II barely spoke English and didn't much care for governing Britain anyway—and incidentally resembles [[HobbesWasRight Thomas Hobbes]]' conception of government. In any case, though this sounds rather scary at first—in theory, British liberty could be dead with a single Act of Parliament[[note]]Although, so could that of the United States with a single Amendment -- but that would require 2/3 of each house of Congress and the assent of the legislatures of 3/4 of the states; that has only happened 18 times (once for the Bill of Rights in 1789-91, and seventeen times since then) since 1789.[[/note]] -- the UK's membership in the EU and its institutions, as well as a couple of other well-enforced treaties, have added a measure of restriction to the actions of Parliament; for the first time, Parliament has to deal with potentially making illegal laws.[[note]]although Parliament still asserts legislative supremacy over Europe and intended to keep applying an anti-terrorism law partially found illegal by Europe. Generally though, European Court rulings work the same as Supreme Court decisions in America: they won't be enforced for whatever time the law is still on the books.[[/note]]

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An extremely important thing to note about the British government is that it is more or less synonymous with Parliament (the Civil Service notwithstanding): all authority flows from Westminster. Indeed, the "keystone" of the British constitutional order as identified by the celebrated [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._V._Dicey AV Dicey]] is this: "''Parliament...has...the right to make or unmake any law whatever, and further, that no person or body is recognized by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of parliament.''"[[note]]Indeed, it has been said that if the UK Parliament wanted to make it illegal for an American to smoke on the streets of Washington DC, it can. Enforcing that law would be another matter.[[/note]] [[/note]]

This setup is a result of the English Civil War (1641–51), the result of which was the monarchy handing over all its power (which in the Tudor era had been ''de facto'' absolute) to Parliament—a process helped by the fact that George I and II barely spoke English and didn't much care for governing Britain anyway—and incidentally resembles [[HobbesWasRight Thomas Hobbes]]' conception of government. In any case, though this sounds rather scary at first—in theory, British liberty could be dead with a single Act of Parliament[[note]]Although, so could that of the United States with a single Amendment -- but that would require 2/3 of each house of Congress and the assent of the legislatures of 3/4 of the states; that has only happened 18 times (once for the Bill of Rights in 1789-91, and seventeen times since then) since 1789.[[/note]] -- the UK's membership in the EU and its institutions, as well as a couple of other well-enforced treaties, have added a measure of restriction to the actions of Parliament; for the first time, Parliament has to deal with potentially making illegal laws.[[note]]although Parliament still asserts legislative supremacy over Europe and intended to keep applying an anti-terrorism law partially found illegal by Europe. Generally though, European Court rulings work the same as Supreme Court decisions in America: they won't be enforced for whatever time the law is still on the books.[[/note]]



AKA the SNP. The social democratic centre-left party's raison d'être is Scottish independence. Formed in 1934 after the amalgamation of the National Party with the Scottish Party. 8 years after the re-congregation of the Scottish Parliament, the SNP emerged as the largest party and formed a minority administration. In 2011, it won an overall majority, something the electoral system was specially designed to prevent. The SNP held a referendum on independence on 18 September 2014, with Scotland choosing to retain the United Kingdom. In 2016, they retained dominance as Scotland's largest party, but fell short of an overall majority. The Conservatives reclaimed their traditional role as second party of Scotland, reclaiming seats that had converted to Tony Blair's New Labour, and leaving the historic positions of SNP and Labour now thoroughly flipped as a result of Labour becoming the third party of Scotland.\\

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AKA the SNP. The social democratic centre-left party's raison d'être is Scottish independence. Formed in 1934 after the amalgamation of the National Party with the Scottish Party. 8 Eight years after the re-congregation of the Scottish Parliament, the SNP emerged as the largest party and formed a minority administration. In 2011, it won an overall majority, something considered extremely unlikely under the Scottish Parliament's electoral system was specially designed to prevent. system. The SNP SNP-formed Scottish Government held a referendum on independence on 18 September 2014, with Scotland choosing to retain remain in the United Kingdom. In 2016, they retained dominance as Scotland's largest party, but fell short of an overall majority. The Conservatives reclaimed their traditional role as second party of Scotland, reclaiming seats that had converted to Tony Blair's New Labour, and leaving the historic positions of SNP and Labour now thoroughly flipped as a result of Labour becoming the third party of Scotland.\\



Despite the similarity of their names, they couldn't be more different to the BNP (whose founding it predates), the SNP supports the monarchy and has policies that typically resembles modern-day social-democratic parties found in mainland Europe. The popularity in Scotland of the SNP is widely perceived in England as inexplicable, or else is explained away (and criticised) as mere bigoted nationalism, but it happened for perfectly logical reasons: for years, Labour was the overwhelmingly dominant party in Scotland, but being a UK-wide party, its policies were obviously determined in Westminster.[[note]]This was especially true when Tony Blair was PM and ran a very top-down Labour administration.[[/note]] This meant that, for decades, however the Scots voted in national elections, they were never able to elect anyone who was committed to looking after Scottish interests in particular: one of the few issues that the Conservative and Labour parties agree about is that national policy has priority over local policy. The result was that all the crucial political decisions about Scotland were made by people who didn't live in Scotland, and weren't that interested in the place. Years of growing public disaffection with the two main parties meant that, in the 2015 UK general election, the SNP scored a massive landslide, winning 56 of the 59 Scottish seats and essentially wiping out Labour's power in Scotland. With the collapse of the Liberal-Democrat party, they are now the third largest party in the house, with more [=MPs=] than all the other smaller parties combined; a drastic shift in the power balance, and almost unheard-of for a party that only contests elections in one part of the UK. The current party leader, and First Minister of Scotland, is Nicola Sturgeon.\\

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Despite the similarity of their names, they couldn't be more different to the BNP (whose founding it predates), predates): the SNP are noted for being very positive towards immigration, and are in favour of Scotland's membership of the EU. The SNP officially supports the monarchy monarchy[[note]]though it has a sizeable republican element opposed to it[[/note]] and has policies that typically resembles resemble modern-day social-democratic parties found in mainland Europe. The popularity in Scotland As a point of principle, the SNP is widely perceived in England as inexplicable, or else is explained away (and criticised) as mere bigoted nationalism, but it happened for perfectly logical reasons: for years, Labour was the overwhelmingly dominant party in Scotland, but being a UK-wide party, does not appoint any members to the House of Lords, and officially backs its policies were obviously determined in Westminster.[[note]]This was especially true when Tony Blair was PM abolition and ran a very top-down Labour administration.[[/note]] This meant that, for decades, however replacement with an elected chamber. They are also strongly opposed to the Scots voted in national elections, they were never able to elect anyone who was committed to looking after Scottish interests in particular: one of the few issues that the Conservative and Labour parties agree about UK's Trident nuclear weapons system, which is that national policy has priority over local policy. The result was that all the crucial political decisions about Scotland were made by people who didn't live based in Scotland, and weren't that interested in the place. Years of growing public disaffection with the two main have worked alongside other anti-nuclear weapons parties meant that, in and the 2015 UK general election, the SNP scored a massive landslide, winning 56 of the 59 Scottish seats and essentially wiping out Labour's power CND in Scotland. With the collapse of the Liberal-Democrat party, they are now the third largest party in the house, with more [=MPs=] than all the other smaller parties combined; a drastic shift in the power balance, and almost unheard-of calling for a party that only contests elections in one part of the UK. The current party leader, and First Minister of Scotland, is Nicola Sturgeon.it to be scrapped.\\



The popularity in Scotland of the SNP is widely perceived in England as inexplicable, or else is explained away (and criticised) as mere bigoted nationalism, but it happened for perfectly logical reasons: for years, Labour was the overwhelmingly dominant party in Scotland, but being a UK-wide party, its policies were obviously determined in Westminster.[[note]]This was especially true when Tony Blair was PM and ran a very top-down Labour administration.[[/note]] This meant that, for decades, however the Scots voted in national elections, they were never able to elect anyone who was committed to looking after Scottish interests in particular: one of the few issues that the Conservative and Labour parties agree about is that national policy has priority over local policy. The result was that all the crucial political decisions about Scotland were made by people who didn't live in Scotland, and weren't that interested in the place.\\
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Years of growing public disaffection with the two main parties, catalysed by the 2014 referendum in which Labour and the Conservatives worked together closely in Better Together[[note]]the official campaigning body in favour of a No vote to independence[[/note]], meant that in the 2015 UK general election the SNP scored a massive landslide, winning 56 of the 59 Scottish seats and essentially wiping out Labour's power in Scotland. With the collapse of the Liberal Democrat party, they are now the third largest party in the house, with more [=MPs=] than all the other smaller parties combined; a drastic shift in the power balance, and almost unheard-of for a party that only contests elections in one part of the UK.\\
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Following the UK's referendum on membership of the EU (the 'Brexit' referendum) - in which the UK as a narrowly (52-48) to leave the EU, but Scotland voted strongly (62-38) in favour of staying - the SNP released a three-tiered plan in response, calling for: A) a "soft" Brexit that would retain Single Market membership[[note]]now ruled out by the UK Government[[/note]]; B) a tailored Brexit deal taking Scotland's specific circumstances - and vote - into account[[note]]not yet explicitly ruled out, but considered highly unlikely given Prime Minister Theresa May's insistence on a Brexit deal "for the whole UK"[[/note]]; or C) if both of those options fail, a second referendum on Scottish independence.\\
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Their reasoning on this is that EU membership was considered a major issue in the 2014 referendum, with the No campaign claiming that independence would place it at risk, and only by staying in the UK could Scotland's membership of the EU be ensured.[[note]]Indeed, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, said in a 2014 debate that "No means we stay in", and the official Better Together Twitter account tweeted "What is the process for removing our EU membership? Voting Yes."[[/note]] Furthermore, the manifesto on which the SNP were elected in the 2016 elections explicitly said that there should be the opportunity to hold a second independence referendum if there was a "material change" in circumstances since the last one, with 'Leaving the EU against Scotland's will' being cited as the prime example. Therefore, the SNP argue that they have an democratic mandate to call a second referendum, and they have been supported in this by the Scottish Green Party, meaning that there is a majority in the Scottish Parliament for it should a vote occur.\\
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* The '''Scottish Green Party''' (SGP)\\
'''[6 [=MSPs=], 12 local.)--]'''\\
[[AC:Current Leaders (Co-Conveners): Patrick Harvie ([=MSP=], Glasgow) and Maggie Chapman (former councillor, City of Edinburgh).]]\\
A distinct but related party to the Green Party of England and Wales (see further below), the Scottish Green Party works alongside the other Green parties of the UK, but is otherwise a separate entity.\\
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The Scottish Greens share a similar policy platform to the other Green parties of the UK, and in the Scottish Parliament place themselves significantly to the left of the SNP. Their policy platform is generally seen to be more fully-fledged and comprehensive than that of their counterparts in England and Wales, possibly due to their greater prominence in the Scottish Parliament via proportional representation. As can be expected, they also place a great deal of emphasis on environmental and land reform issues. The party backs Scottish independence, and enjoyed a surge in support and membership following the independence referendum in 2014.\\
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While they did not gain any [=MPs=] in the 2015 Westminster elections, they moved from 2 to 6 [=MSPs=] in the 2016 Holyrood elections, surpassing the Liberal Democrats (5 [=MSPs=]) to become the 4th largest party in the Scottish Parliament. Like the Green parties of the rest of the UK, and like the SNP in Scotland, they support membership of the EU (though with the view that it requires significant reforms), and have offered their support to the SNP should there be a vote to call a second independence referendum to retain Scottish EU membership following the UK's Brexit vote.



Very left-wing Scottish party. Campaigned for independence with the SNP, and at one point had six [=MSPs=] in the Scottish Parliament. Current representation is reduced to a single local councillor.

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Very left-wing Scottish party. Campaigned for independence with the SNP, and at one point had six 6 [=MSPs=] in the Scottish Parliament. Current representation is reduced to a single local councillor.
councillor. The SSP took part in an electoral coalition for the 2016 elections called RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance[[note]]"RISE" being an acronym for Respect, Independence, Socialism, and Environmentalism[[/note]] which gained little traction, accruing only 0.5% of the vote and no seats in Holyrood.
23rd Jan '17 9:33:32 AM Karl304
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\\

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\\[[AC:Current Leader (Northern Ireland): Michelle O'Neill (MLA, Mid Ulster).]]\\
16th Jan '17 2:00:25 AM Karl304
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[[AC:Current Leader: Arlene Foster (First Minister of Northern Ireland and MLA, Fermanagh and South Tyrone)]].\\

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[[AC:Current Leader: Arlene Foster (First Minister of Northern Ireland and MLA, (MLA, Fermanagh and South Tyrone)]].\\
28th Dec '16 12:23:06 AM Belic
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Parliamentary debates and question times are far more rowdy than the (modern) United States Congress, with creative insults and heckling being the order of the day, but {{Floor Fight}}s are very rare. The chamber is presided over by the Speaker or one of his/her deputies. The Speaker is a non-partisan figure (once elected Speaker, they drop their party affiliation, and ascend to the Lords after retiring as an MP), and during debates in the Commons, all remarks are addressed to the Speaker; speaking directly to your opposite number and using words like "you" gets you a slapped wrist. Particularly controversial media issues may be raised in Parliament, including [[http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmhansrd/vo050117/debtext/50117-03.htm#50117-03_spnew10 this particular gem]] [[Series/BrassEye from a Conservative MP]]. The current Speaker is John Bercow, a (former) Conservative from Buckingham. The Speaker, in a tie, will nearly always vote to keep debate open and will almost never vote for a bill, as doing so would create a majority where one did not exist; the main exception is if the bill is a confidence or supply measure--i.e., if the bill fails, the government collapses and either a new PM and new government must be chosen or new elections must be held--in which case the Speaker will generally vote in favor.

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Parliamentary debates and question times are far more rowdy than the (modern) United States Congress, with creative insults and heckling being the order of the day, but {{Floor Fight}}s are very rare. The chamber is presided over by the Speaker or one of his/her deputies. The Speaker is a non-partisan figure (once elected Speaker, they drop their party affiliation, and ascend to the Lords after retiring as an MP), and during debates in the Commons, all remarks are addressed to the Speaker; speaking directly to your opposite number and using words like "you" gets you a slapped wrist. Particularly controversial media issues may be raised in Parliament, including [[http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmhansrd/vo050117/debtext/50117-03.htm#50117-03_spnew10 this particular gem]] [[Series/BrassEye from a Conservative MP]]. The current Speaker is John Bercow, a (former) Conservative from Buckingham. The Speaker, in the event of a tie, will nearly always vote to keep debate open and will almost never vote for a bill, as doing so would create a majority where one did not exist; the main exception is if the bill is a confidence or supply measure--i.e., if the bill fails, the government collapses and either a new PM and new government must be chosen or new elections must be held--in which case the Speaker will generally vote in favor.



There are 650 elected [=MPs=], all but five of whom [[note]]Sylvia Hermon, Michelle Thomson, Natalie [=McGarry=], Simon Danczuk and the Speaker[[/note]] are also members of a political party. Westminster is most near to a "two-and-a-half party" system, with the dominant parties being Labour and the Conservatives, and the perpetual third party the Liberal Democrats.

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There are 650 elected [=MPs=], all but five of whom [[note]]Sylvia Hermon, Michelle Thomson, Natalie [=McGarry=], Simon Danczuk and the Speaker[[/note]] are also members of a political party. Westminster is most near to a "two-and-a-half party" system, with the dominant parties since World War I being Labour and the Conservatives, and the perpetual third Liberals had been the other major party prior to the formation of a deeply unpopular coalition government with the Conservatives in the 1920s. They and their successors the Liberal Democrats.
Democrats found themselves in third place for most of the elections until 2015 - when, after forming another coalition government with the Conservatives they found themselves reduced from 57MPs to 8 and replaced as the third largest party by the SNP.
12th Dec '16 5:01:08 AM Karl304
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'''[--(329 [=MPs=], 244 Lords, 20 [=MEPs=], 31 [=MSPs=], 11 Wales [=AMs=], 8 London [=AMs=], 1 Mayor, 8,292 local.)--]'''\\

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'''[--(329 [=MPs=], 244 Lords, 20 [=MEPs=], 31 30 [=MSPs=], 11 Wales [=AMs=], 8 London [=AMs=], 1 Mayor, 8,292 local.)--]'''\\
12th Dec '16 3:19:37 AM cwickham
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'''[--(330 [=MPs=], 244 Lords, 20 [=MEPs=], 31 [=MSPs=], 11 Wales [=AMs=], 8 London [=AMs=], 1 Mayor, 8,292 local.)--]'''\\

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'''[--(330 '''[--(329 [=MPs=], 244 Lords, 20 [=MEPs=], 31 [=MSPs=], 11 Wales [=AMs=], 8 London [=AMs=], 1 Mayor, 8,292 local.)--]'''\\



'''[--(8 [=MPs=], 105 Lords, 1 [=MEP=], 5 [=MSPs=], 1 Wales [=AM=], 1 London [=AM=], 2 elected Mayors, 2,355 local.)--]'''\\

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'''[--(8 '''[--(9 [=MPs=], 105 Lords, 1 [=MEP=], 5 [=MSPs=], 1 Wales [=AM=], 1 London [=AM=], 2 elected Mayors, 2,355 local.)--]'''\\
28th Nov '16 9:59:12 AM TheFowler4F
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'''[--(1 [=MPs=], 3 Lords, 24 [=MEPs=], 6 Wales [=AMs=], 2 London [=AMs=], 490 local.)--]'''\\
[[AC: Current Acting Leader: Nigel Farage (MEP, South East England).]]\\

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'''[--(1 [=MPs=], 3 Lords, 24 20 [=MEPs=], 6 Wales [=AMs=], 2 London [=AMs=], 490 local.)--]'''\\
[[AC: Current Acting Leader: Nigel Farage Paul Nuttall (MEP, South East North West England).]]\\
30th Oct '16 10:15:12 AM randomguy566
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The Conservatives unexpectedly won a majority of 12 in the 2015 general election, largely at the expense of their former coalition partners the Liberal Democrats. It should be noted that the Conservatives are [[{Understatement}} not particularly popular in Scotland]], with the joke being that there are currently twice as many pandas in Scotland than there are Tory [=MPs=].\\

to:

The Conservatives unexpectedly won a majority of 12 in the 2015 general election, largely at the expense of their former coalition partners the Liberal Democrats. It should be noted that the Conservatives are [[{Understatement}} [[Understatement not particularly popular in Scotland]], with the joke being that there are currently twice as many pandas in Scotland than there are Tory [=MPs=].\\
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