Chalk + Talk with Edward Fieldhouse: The fragmentation of Britain’s Party system

In this Chalk + Talk Professor Edward Fieldhouse reflects on three factors that might have contributed to why more people voted for smaller parties at the last general election.

Listen to a podcast of the event here:

Professor Edward Fieldhouse, Director, British Election Study, University of Manchester

Professor Fieldhouse explores the reasons why we no longer have a two party system despite not bringing in constitutional reform in the form of proportional representation. Electoral theory expects proportional systems to enhance minor party voting and majoritarian electoral systems to reduce it. Yet at the 2015 general election this did not seem to be the case with 21.1% of voters choosing what are generally considered ‘smaller’ parties (this excludes the Liberal Democrats).

Fieldhouse explores three potential reasons for this:

  • The coalition government and polls showing strong prospect of another hung parliament
  • The collapse of the Liberal Democrats
  • The spill over effects of the referendum in Scotland

Chalk + Talk is the SMF’s popular lunchtime seminar series, run in partnership with the ESRC.