Which is the oldest political party in the world still in existence?


Arguably, the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom is the oldest political party in the world that is still standing. However, in the murky world of political spin and backdoor negotiations, nothing is straightforward, and some claim The Democratic Party of the United States to be the oldest party still in existence.

Officially, the Conservatives say they were formed in 1834 and the modern Democrats say 1828 – which would seem fairly cut-and-dry. However, while the British party was founded by Sir Robert Peel when he wrote his Tamworth Manifesto and his subsequent governments were labelled Conservative, in terms of membership it was only a continuation of the pre-existing Tory Party, which was formed in 1678. A contemporary spin-doctor might call the Conservatives a ‘rebranding’ of the Tories. However, the Conservatives have never quite managed to shake off the old title and the British press still often uses ‘Tory’ as shorthand for a Conservative.

Pedantically, the US Democratic Party is the oldest; realistically, the Conservative party is. Both parties are not only still running, but both are in power, with President Obama’s Democrat administration in the United States and Prime Minister David Cameron in a coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats across the Atlantic.