The Liberal Democrats (often referred to as the Lib Dems) are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom.
The Liberal Democrats were formed in 1988 by a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The two parties had formed the electoral SDP–Liberal Alliance for seven years prior. The Liberal Party had been in existence for 129 years and in power under leaders such as Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George. Liberal Reforms led to the creation of the British welfare state. In the 1920s, the Labour Party replaced the Liberals as the largest opponent of the Conservative Party. The SDP split from Labour in 1981 because of the latter's move to the left.