Scottish Nationalist Party
Name: Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP)
Leader: Nicola Sturgeon
General Political Ideology: Left-wing Scottish Nationalists with a long term goal of moving Scotland out of the United Kingdom.
Key Policies: Short of being able to hold another independence referendum, the SNP are continuing to push for further devolution of powers from Westminster to Scotland. Two specific areas of focus are the removal of all nuclear weapons from Scottish waters and streamlining of NHS services; such as the removal of 25% of the current crop of managers.
Name: Plaid Cymru
Leader: Leanne Wood
General Political Ideology: Left-wing with a long term goal of making Wales an independent member of the EU.
Key Policies: While chances of independence remain slim, Plaid Cymru are focussing in the short term on overhauling the formula used to determine government funding in the UK, and continue to move lawmaking and other powers to Cardiff.
Democratic Unionist Party
Name: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
Leader: Peter Robinson
General Political Ideology: Right wing; supports Northern Ireland’s status as part of the UK and opposes unification with the Republic of Ireland.
Key Policies: The DUP state their goals as creating a prosperous Northern Ireland while strengthening its position in the UK. Their current seven “top priorities” are job creation, low rates, tough sentencing, education reform, increased health spending, increased inter-party and intra-governmental cohesion, and (of course) stronger unionism with the UK.
Name: Sinn Fein
Leader: Gerry Adams
General Political Ideology: Left wing, supports a unified Northern and Republic of Ireland and as such, is also active in the Republic.
Key Policies: More public spending and increased taxes. Sinn Fein’s main focus is on policies under the ‘All Ireland’ ideology underpinning their central goal of a united Ireland. Most notably a large number of their members are former members of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and as such are fiercely opposed to being part of the United Kingdom.
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
Name: Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
Leader: Alasdair McDonnell
General Political Ideology: Centre-left nationalists supportive of a united Northern and Republic of Ireland.
Key Policies: The SDLP tend to pitch themselves as a nationalist party of civil rights: less militant than Sinn Fein while still pushing towards a united Ireland. They support initiatives to promote Irish Gaelic, and aim to create a common economy between North and South.
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
Name: Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
Leader: Mike Nesbitt
General Political Ideology: Centre-right, pro-unionists.
Key Policies: The UUP support Northern Ireland’s continued position in the UK but tend not to make this as much of a part of their policies as the similarly-inclined DUP. Their main policy focuses are on education reform, job creation, preserving the Northern Irish NHS, and increasing the prospects for businesses in the region.