Authoritarian Populism Index.

The Authoritarian Populism Index is developed by Timbro.

Timbro is the leading free market think tank in the Nordic countries. Our mission is to promote and disseminate ideas supporting the principles of free markets, free enterprise, individual liberty and a free society. Timbro was founded in 1978 by Sture Eskilsson and the Swedish Employers’ Association, a precursor to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.  Since 2003, Timbro is financed by the Swedish Free Enterprise Foundation.


International outreach and translation supported by Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Atlas Network.

united kingdom

Populism Rank: 30


Voter support for radical left in last elections (2019): 0%.
Voter support for radical right in last elections: +0,2%.
Populist or radical parties in government (March 2024): none

01 Speakers

The United Kingdom stands out from the other countries in the study due to its electoral system. Unlike other European countries, the UK  has a pure majoritarian electoral system. This system strongly favours the emergence of a two-party system and has been of great significance for the absence of anti-establishment parties in the country. Even parties that gather a relatively large share of the votes usually receive very few seats in parliament. For example, the Liberal Democrats, long the third-largest party in the country, received just over eleven percent in the 2019 election but only got one percent of the seats in the House of Commons.


Another consequence of this is that radical views have often been accommodated within the major parties. Labour has thus housed militant, radically socialist factions, while the Tories have accommodated national conservative factions.

Established in 1991 as the Anti-Federalist League by Alan Sked, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) got its current name in 1993. In 1997, Sked was ousted by a faction led by Nigel Farage, which led to a reshaping of the party’s direction. Sked himself soon left the party, claiming that it had turned racist. Under Farage’s leadership, UKIP expanded its platform, notably focusing on immigration issues. This strategy proved successful, with notable electoral victories in the 2013 local elections, the 2014 European elections (where they came first), and the 2015 general election, garnering over 12 percent of the vote. The biggest triumph was the referendum on Brexit in 2016, firstly that it took place, but even more the outcone as a majority of the British electorate voted to leave the EU. Afterwards, Farage resigned, contributing to UKIP’s subsequent decline.

Nigel Farage. Photo: Gage Skidmore

UKIP is ideologically classified as a right-wing populist party, championing staunch Euroscepticism and British nationalism while opposing immigration, multiculturalism, and what it perceives as the “Islamification” of Britain.

Following his departure from UKIP, Farage founded the Brexit Party with the objective of ensuring the implementation of Brexit. In the 2019 elections, it secured two percent of the vote. In 2021, the party rebranded as Reform UK, shifting its focus to anti-lockdown sentiments. The Reform Party can be characterised as populist and nationalist in its orientation. Early in 2024, Reform started to take-off in the polls, passing ten percent voter support.

EP elections

Not a member of the European Union


REFORM summary

Economics: RIGHT
Social issues: CONSERVATIVE
Democratic credibility: HIGH