|A guide to|
|God Save the Queen?|
They were formed from an alliance of the old Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party and they have 63 MPs in the House of Commons, and 71 Lords in the House of Lords and 12 in the European Parliament. The Party's leader is Nick Clegg – an atheist.
Most Lib Dems are liberals; the internal spectrum is mostly between social liberalism and economic liberalism. On the traditional left-right spectrum, most place the party in the centre or centre-left. Political Compass puts the party on the socially liberal side of their two-dimensional spectrum, with both the Labour Party and the Conservatives on the socially authoritarian side.
On the social liberalism side, they support things like civil liberties, reviewing the law on recreational drugs, anti-discrimination laws, same-sex marriages, abortion, and genetic research. With economic liberalism they support more progressive taxes and wealth redistribution. They like increased public service provision, fiscal rules, immigration, multi-lateralism, intervention in other countries only with UN backing, increasing aid spending. They like fighting global warming, disestablishing the Church of England, a written constitution and electoral and government reform. They favour replacing the UK's current Trident nuclear deterrent with a less expensive alternative. 
From the preamble to the party's constitution states:
“”The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.
|—"The Liberal Democrats - Our Constitution"|
Currently they are in government in coalition with the Conservatives and it is unclear how far they will insist on the coalition government doing anything about these points. Thus far, the general consensus is that they haven't done much.
When the Liberal-SDP merger occurred in 1988, a small number of members of the Liberal Party disagreed with merging and continued as a separate party, sometimes jokingly referred to as the Continuity Liberal Party. They have about 100 local councillors but no Parliamentary representation. They and others get annoyed when sloppy commentators who should know better talk about the "Liberal Party" as being a member of the government coalition.
- ↑ Liberal Democrat Homepage
- ↑ Clegg 'does not believe in God'
- ↑ UK Parties 2008
- ↑ The Liberal Democrats on International Affairs
- ↑ Wikipedia
- ↑ The Liberal Democrats on Defence.