Timeline

1918

Under Lloyd George, the Representation of the People Act gives women over 30 the right to vote, with Universal Suffrage following in 1928. 

1942

The Liberal intellectual and future MP Sir William Beveridge unveils the 'Beveridge Report'. It aimed to destroy the 'five giants of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness', and laid the foundations for full National Insurance and the National Health Service. 

1955

The Liberals are the first party to support Britain joining the the European Economic Community - the forerunner of the European Union.

Liberal votes instrumental in ensuring passage of legislation implementing entry into the EEC in 1972.

1960s

Roy Jenkins - who later became one of the founders of the Liberal Democrats - as Home Secretary decriminalises homosexuality and abolishes the death penalty.

The Liberal MP David Steel (who also became one of the founders of the Liberal Democrats) pilots a bill through Parliament allowing women to have abortions.

1975

The Liberal Party campaign to keep Britain in the European Economic Community in a referendum, against opposition from the Labour Hard Left, including Jeremy Corbyn.

1981

With the Labour Party moving to the Hard Left, including leaving the EEC and Nato, the 'Gang of Four' form the Social Democratic Party, committed to a mixed economy, social justice and internationalism.

Simon Lewis wins first SDP seat from Labour on Southwark Council.

1983

Liberals and SDP Alliance win 25% of the popular vote nationally. Simon Hughes elected to Parliament for the first time in Southwark and Bermondsey.
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1986

SDP-Liberal Alliance win 15 seats and become principal opposition to Labour on Southwark Council.

1988

The Liberal Party and SDP merge to form the Liberal Democrats. Paddy Ashdown becomes the new party's first Leader.

1990s 

Paddy Ashdown leads the political campaigns to prevent genocide in the Balkans. Later, he is entrusted by the UN to lead Bosnia & Herzegovina during its recovery from war and ethnic cleansing and towards peace, democracy and economic development.

1997

The Lib Dems lead successful campaign to save Guy's Hospital, but A&E then closed by Labour government.

1999

Under relentless campaigning by Simon Hughes MP, the government relent and agree to build Underground Tube stations in Southwark and in Bermondsey.

1990-91

By-election wins for the Liberal Democrats in Eastbourne (1990) and Ribble Valley (1991) show strength of party; undermining last days of Margaret Thatcher's premiership, and putting an end to the poll tax.

2001

Cathedrals ward Councillor, Hilary Wines elected as first Liberal Democrat Mayor of Southwark.

2002 - 2010

Southwark Liberal Democrats win 30 seats and gain control of the Council for the first time, increasing recycling rates from 3% to 27%, almost doubling the number of pupils obtaining five or more good GCSEs, bringing schools back under Council control that had been taken into 'Special Measures' from the Labour-run Council, and investing heavily in libraries & leisure centres across the borough. The Liberal Democrat run council also invests in one of the first large scale house building programmes in London in over 30 years.

2003

Liberal Democrats stand alone among the major parties in opposition to the Iraq War, under the leadership of Charles Kennedy.
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2008

Simon Hughes wins campaign for asylum for Mehdi Kazemi, a gay Iranian student facing the death penalty. 

2010

With Britain facing the worst economic situation in three generations, Liberals Democrats form a coalition government. As well as securing record reduction in unemployment and hundreds of thousands more apprenticeships, they introduce the pupil premium, scrapping income tax for all low-pay employees, launches the world's first Green Investment Bank, ends Labour's policy of detaining children seeking asylum and scraps the ID card scheme.

2016

Liberal Democrats play leading role in campaign to keep Britain in the European Union. The referendum is narrowly lost, and the Liberal Democrats launch campaign for a referendum on the terms of the deal - with remaining being an option. 
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