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The first 200 words of this essay...
Formed on the 6th of June 1859, when Whigs, Peelites and Radicals met at Willis's Rooms in St. James Street, London, to unite in opposition to the Conservatives. They governed Britain for the next 60 years, with Asquith, Gladstone and Lloyd George dominating the era. The strains of the First World War left the party in disarray.
In 1957 there were only 5 MP's and just 110 constituencies had been contested by the party at the previous general election. In 1958, the Liberals won their first by-election for over 30 years, at Torrington in Devon.
In 1988 the Liberal Democrats were formed. The liberal party formally merged with the Social Democrats. They were first known as the Social Liberal Democrats (SLA), but then changed to Liberal Democrats.
Since the merger in 1988, The Liberal Democrats have regularly scored 20% of the vote in local elections and higher in council by-elections.
After Labour was elected in 1997, Senior Liberal Democrats have been invited to sit in on Labour cabinet meetings.
The Liberal Democrats are a federal structure. It is a compromise between the centralised
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