Devolution, party change and the Welsh Conservative Party
in The territorial Conservative Party
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This chapter applies the analytical framework outlined in chapter three to the Welsh Conservative Party. It finds that the Welsh Conservatives faced similar challenges to the Scottish Conservatives in adapting to devolution. It is arguable that initially the Scottish Conservatives adapted much better to the transition from the referendum to the new institutions. However, the election of Nick Bourne as leader of the party became a key driver for party change at the elite level in the Welsh Conservatives. In particular, he encouraged a new attitude towards the party’s policies and image which was much more supportive of Welsh aspirations. This did not represent a wholesale conversion of the party to devolution (particularly at the level of the party membership), but it did ensure that at the elite level the party was able to manoeuvre itself into a position where it was on the cusp of coalition government in 2007 with Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

The territorial Conservative Party

Devolution and party change in Scotland and Wales

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