The Conservative and Unionist Party, more commonly known as the Conservatives, the Conservative Party, or Tory Party is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. Founded in its present form during the early 19th century, it has since been the principal party of the political right in Britain.
The Conservative Party is descended from the Tory Party, founded in 1678, and is still often referred to as the Tory Party and its politicians, members and supporters as Tories. It was also known as the Unionist Party in the early 20th century, following the Conservatives' alliance with that part of the Liberal Party, known as the Liberal Unionists, who opposed their party's support for Irish Home Rule.
The Conservative Party was in government for two-thirds of the twentieth century, but after losing the 1997 election to the Labour Party, as the second largest political party in terms of sitting members of parliament, it formed the opposition. The current party leader is David Cameron, who acts as the leader of the opposition and heads the shadow cabinet. As of 2009, it has the most councillors in local government, members of the European Parliament, and members of the London Assembly of any party.