A political party is a group of ordinary people who join together because they have similar ideas about things.
A political party can have ideas about how to run the whole country, or a political party can have ideas about just one thing that they think is important.
The Electoral Commission
Almost anyone can join or set up a political party, but there are some rules about it. You can find out about these rules from The Electoral Commission.
It is important to know what each political party thinks. This can help you decide whether you want to join a political party, or vote for them at an election.
Most political parties publish something called a manifesto. This tells people about their ideas. Manifestos tell you what a party thinks about things like health, education and the environment.
Most political parties have a website to tell people about their ideas. They may also have local clubs or offices where people can go to find out more about them.
You can find out what people in some political parties are saying by reading the newspapers, listening to the radio, or watching the news and political programmes on the television.
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When there is an election, most political parties send people information about what they will do if they win the election.
Each political party chooses people to be in an election for them. They choose one person for each area. This person is called a candidate. There will be candidates for the area that you live in.
Most of the local politicians, MPs and MEPs who help to run the country are members of a political party.
Not every candidate in an election needs to be a member of a political party. A candidate can be someone with their own ideas about things. This is called being an independent candidate.
Politicians who are members of a political party normally support the ideas of that party, but they can sometimes disagree.
A politician does not have to stay in a political party. They can swap to another political party if they prefer, or become independent.
The political party who has the most MPs after a General Election gets to be the Government.
This means that, depending on who wins a general election, a different political party will be running the country.
If one political party does not win enough votes at the general election to run the country on their own, then political parties may have to run the country together. This is called a coalition government.