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Government & Politics   >   Minor Parties


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Minor Parties

This course explores the role of minor parties in the UK’s democracy, oriented around the UK Politics section of the Government and Politics A-Level specification. We begin our discussion of the role of minor parties in UK democracy by focusing on the design of Parliament and the importance placed on the governing and Opposition parties, before moving on in the second lecture to think about the Scottish National Party. We explore the idea that, from a Scottish perspective, the SNP are by no means a ‘minor’ party, but nevertheless face difficulties making an impact in a Westminster context. In the third lecture, we turn to the Green Party, focusing on the strategies used by elected greens to combat problems of representation in the Westminster Parliament and the different position of Green MPs in devolved assemblies. In the fourth lecture, we consider similar themes with regard to the position of Plaid Cymru, detailing their 2021 election manifesto and policy objectives, before moving on in the fifth lecture to explore the position of small or minor parties in Northern Ireland and the recent position of the DUP at Westminster. In the sixth and final lecture, we explore the future of small party representation in the UK, considering the impact of both Brexit and Covid-19 before finishing up with the question of whether all citizens in the UK are represented in the same way.


In this module, we begin our discussion of the role of minor or "small" parties in the UK's democracy, focusing in particular on: (i) the design of parliament and the importance placed on the governing and Opposition parties; (ii) what minor parties are and some examples, including the SNP, Green Party, and Alba Party; (iii) the historical significance of minor parties, as with the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1880s; (iv) the difficulties faced by minor parties in gaining representation in Parliament and the importance of concentrated geographical support; (v) the different situation in devolved legislatures and the importance of electoral systems contributing to greater small party representation in devolved legislatures.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Thompson, L. (2022, February 16). Minor Parties - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Thompson, L. "Minor Parties – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Feb 2022,

Image Credits


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Dr Louise Thompson

Manchester University