Labour Party vs Conservative Party: Differences, History, Ideologies and Policies

Picture of Ben Shaw-Parker, Ph.D.

Ben Shaw-Parker, Ph.D.

What is the Labour Party and Conservative Party?

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that promotes social democracy and democratic socialism, while the Conservative Party is a centre-right political party in the UK that advocates for free market policies, traditionalism, and British conservatism.

Introduction: Labour Party vs Conservative Party

Labour Party vs Conservative Party: The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy in which the people vote for representatives to the House of Commons.

The House of Commons is the lower house of a bicameral legislative system. For most of its recent history, it has been dominated by two main political parties – Labour Party vs Conservative Party.

When Was The Labour Party And Conservative Party Founded?

The Labour Party was founded in 1900 as a party of the working class and trade unions. The Conservative Party was founded in 1834 and is associated with the landed gentry, big business, and the church. Both parties have evolved, and their policies have changed to reflect the changing times.

This article will compare the ideologies, policies, and governing structures of the Labour Party vs Conservative Party.

What Are The Ideologies Of The Labour Party And Conservative Party?

The Labour Party is a centre-leftist political party that promotes social justice, equality, and workers’ rights. The Conservative Party is a centre-right political party that operates on a platform of individualism, free markets and a limited role in government intervention.

The Labour Party aims to generate a more equitable society by transferring wealth and power from the elites to the general population.

The party believes state action is essential for obtaining social and economic equality, emphasising the government’s responsibility to provide citizens access to fundamentals such as healthcare, education, and housing.

The Conservative Party promotes reduced taxation, deregulation and a smaller government, theorising that the private sector is more effective than the public sector in delivering services.

What Are The Policies Of The Labour Party And Conservative Party?

The Labour Party’s policies focus on promoting equality through public expenditure, redistribution and progressive taxation. The Conservative Party’s policies emphasise economic growth and job creation through tax cuts and reduced regulation of businesses.

The Labour Party proposes public ownership of sectors such as energy and transport, housing market reform through creating affordable homes, regulating the private rented sector, and tackling climate change by expanding renewable energy sources and decreasing carbon emissions.

The Conservative Party aims to reduce the budget deficit. They plan to cut public spending on welfare and public services.

The party favours privatising some industries, such as the railways, reforming the housing market through greater housebuilding and home ownership, and investing in renewable energy to combat climate change. However, it places less emphasis on this matter than Labour.

How Do Labour Party And Conservative Party Approach Governance?

The Labour Party believes in a strong and active government that intervenes in the economy and society to achieve social and economic equality. The Conservative Party believes in a small government that does not interfere in people’s lives or the economy.

The Labour Party believes that the government should have a role in regulating markets, providing public services, and creating employment.

The party also supports devolving power to local communities and promoting participatory democracy.

The Conservative Party believes that the government should only provide essential services such as defence, law and order, and healthcare.

The party also supports a strong central government and is opposed to the devolution of power to local communities.

What Is The Attitude Of The Labour Party And Conservative Party Towards Brexit And The European Union?

The Labour Party is generally pro-European Union (EU) and supported remaining in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum. The Conservative Party is split in terms of its stance on Europe, with some members supporting a pro-European agenda and others taking a Eurosceptic approach.

The Labour Party believes the EU is a force for good in promoting peace, prosperity, and democracy in Europe. The party supports continued membership of the EU single market and customs union.

During the 2016 Brexit referendum, the Conservative Party backed a Leave vote and has since advocated for a ‘hard Brexit’ – an exit from the EU single market and customs union.

The UK government’s rationale for this hard Brexit policy is to give Britain greater control over its borders and trade policy.

What Is The Attitude Of The Labour Party And Conservative Party Towards Social Issues?

The Labour Party is generally more socially liberal than the Conservative Party and is committed to promoting equality and diversity. The Conservative Party is generally more socially conservative than the Labour Party and is committed to promoting traditional values and social cohesion.

The Labour Party supports policies such as same-sex marriage, gender equality, and multiculturalism.

The party also supports the legalisation of cannabis for medical use and decriminalising drugs for personal use.

The Conservative Party previously opposed same-sex marriage and has been criticised for its record on gender equality. However, the Conservative Party played a significant role in the enactment of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, recognising same-sex and transitioning partners in marriage-like unions, mandating opposite-sex marriage dissolution upon gender transition.

Read article: Family Law Act 1996: Legal Analysis and Commentaries

The party also takes a tough stance on law and order and is committed to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Here is a table below summarising some of the key difference between Labour Party and Conservative Party in the UK:

Difference between Labour Party and Conservative Party

Labour PartyConservative Party
IdeologyCentre-leftCentre-right
Key ValuesSocial justice, equality, workers’ rightsIndividualism, free markets, limited government
Economic PolicyIncrease public spending, progressive taxationCut taxes, reduce regulation, promote private sector
Social PolicyTackle inequality, provide public services, social careEmphasize traditional values, law and order, social cohesion
Attitude towards EuropePro-European Union (EU), support continued membershipEurosceptic, supported leaving the EU
Approach to GovernanceStrong and active government, regulate markets, promote local democracyLimited government, provide essential services, strong central government
The Difference between Labour Party and Conservative Party (Labour Party vs Conservative Party)

Conclusion: Labour Party vs Conservative Party

Labour Party vs Conservative Party represents two very different visions for the future of the United Kingdom.

The Labour Party is committed to creating a fairer and more equal society by redistributing wealth and power from top to bottom.

In contrast, the Conservative Party is committed to promoting economic growth and reducing the state’s role in people’s lives.

While both parties have their strengths and weaknesses, it is crucial for voters to understand the differences between the two parties and their policies.

Ultimately, the choice of which party to support will depend on the individual voter’s values and priorities.

Read article: Is a TV License a Utility Bill?

References

Picture of Ben Shaw-Parker, Ph.D.

Ben Shaw-Parker, Ph.D.

Ben is a university law professor. He has an LLM in Public International Law and a Doctorate in Humanitarian Law. Ben's specialty is in the area of Human Rights, Crime Law, Socio-legal Studies, Common Law, Comparative Law, Public Law and Environmental Law. He has contributed to several law journals.

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