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Outline the main ways the House of Commons and the House of Lords differ

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Introduction

To what extent does the UK have a two-party system? A two-party system is a system in which two parties have a duopoly of power, who usually have a near-equal share of the vote. To assess the extent to which the UK has a two-party system we must take into consideration: how it has been historically, the electoral system and the natural political slants of the classes. It will be argued that the UK can be broadly described as a two-party system but that it is changing towards a multi-party system. It was originally the Conservatives vs. the Liberals, the Labour began to grow in power while the Liberals lost power but were never destroyed, and we have seen how the Liberal Democrats played an important part in the 2010 election, and they are after all currently in the government. ...read more.

Middle

In the FPTP system the party that loses out the most is the 3rd party, which at the moment is the liberals, as they come 2nd in many constituencies and gain a significant proportion of the votes, but this proportion does not correlate into seats. This is why the Liberals have been pushing for a referendum to swap FPTP for a more proportionately representative system, AV. This referendum was meant to come about May 2011, but has been delayed by the opposition of the House of Lords. Electoral evidence has shown that in a proportionally representative system the big two would almost never be able to create a government on their own. It also shows that the Liberal share of the vote is close to that of the Conservatives or Labour. If the Liberals are successful in their attempts to bring in a more proportionally representative system then our two - party system would effectively be ended. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another important point is that voters know that it is unlikely for a 3rd party to gain power, which dissuades them from voting for anything other than the big two. Despite this class system, we have been seeing more examples of disillusionment with the major parties, and the growth in the support of minor parties and of 'Partisan Disalignment'. From the EU elections we have seen how extremist groups have gained power, and membership of the major parties has fallen, as has party activism, whereas political protests, particularly individual protests such as boycotting certain products have risen. In conclusion, Britain can still be described as having a two-party system, crucially due to its unfair voting system, but from recent events such as the creation of the coalition and its plans for voting reform, Britain is being pushed towards a multi-party system. ...read more.

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