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Political parties in the United Kingdom

Last modified: 2005-01-22 by rob raeside
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Floral Symbolism in British Political Parties

Didn't British political parties traditionally have flowers associated with them? Is it true that primroses are for the Conservatives and something yellow--perhaps daffodils?--for the Liberals. Could the rose have originated as the symbol of Labour, then carried over to other parties?
Joe McMillan, 24 February 2003


I'm fairly sure that the rose, as a symbol of the Labour Party, is a fairly recent phenomenon, say, 1980s. The old symbol included a torch and a spade.

The primrose was Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's favourite flower. The Primrose League was an association founded in 1883 by Lord Randolph Churchill (Winston's father) to promote Conservatism, but from outside the Conservative Party. It was named after the primrose in Disraeli's honour. The usual colour usually associated with the Conservatives is blue.

Confusingly, Primrose was the family name of the Earl of Rosebery, Prime Minister between 1894 and 1895 - but he was a Liberal.

I haven't been able to find anything that links daffodils with the Liberal Party, unless the connection is David Lloyd George, who was Prime Minister during the First World War. Lloyd George was prominent in a campaign at the start of the 20th century to have the daffodil replace the leek as the Welsh national emblem (why the daffodil was chosen remains unclear, unless it is the almost-rhyme between daff and taffy.

Yellow has been used for Liberal party favours and literature since the 19th century. But now that they are the Liberal Democrats, they use orange.
Ian Sumner, 26 February 2003

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