About the Liberal Democrats

What the Liberal Democrats Believe Poster from Mark Pack

Liberal Democrat History and Values

Liberalism had its origins in the English Civil War and the struggle between democracy and authoritarian tendencies, but the Liberal Party as such came into existence in 1859. The party’s formation was triggered to some extent by the Repeal of the Corn Laws, which were regarded as a protectionist measure which kept food prices artificially high. Support for free trade became an important part of Liberal policy for much of the 19th and 20th Centuries. In its current form, the Liberal Democrat Party came into existence following a merger between the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party in 1988. There’s a more detailed account of the party’s history, its electoral fortunes and the contribution it has made to social and economic progress here.

As a party we have s clear set of values which are laid out in our Constitution. The first paragraph describes our approach:

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.

Preamble to the LIberal Democrat Constitution

Members and Supporters

The Liberal Democrats are a membership organisation – joining automatically makes you part of the party nationally and locally. You can become a member or a registered supporter. Whichever you decide to do, we’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening locally and nationally and you would be very welcome to help in our campaigning!


  • Vote on party policy
  • Propose, debate and decide policies
  • Vote in future leadership elections
  • Access members-only training
  • Be a part of your local party executive
  • Stand as a council or parliamentary candidate
  • Have to pay a subscription – from £1 per month (50p concessionary)

Join online now or Renew your membership

Registered Supporters

  • Help shape party policy
  • Attend party conferences
  • Access party training
  • Access members-only training
  • Access the members’ portal of the website
  • Attend local party events
  • Do not have to pay a subscription

Become a supporter

Want to know more? Contact us