Richard Kelly
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Organisational reform and the extra-parliamentary party

After the 1997 defeat, Conservatives were inclined to argue that faulty organization, particularly, in respect of their extra-parliamentary wings formed a key reason for the dismal showing. The great anomaly of the Conservative organisation, dating from its inception after the 1867 Reform Act, was the formal divide between the party's MPs and its volunteers outside Parliament. Far from being a tightly knit party, the Conservatives were a collection of three disparate organisations: the Conservative Party in Parliament, the National Union of Conservative Associations, and Conservative Central Office. In a 'declaration' at Central Office, William Hague announced that he would use the 'mandate' of his leadership victory to 'guide the party towards a fresh and more modern organisation'. He effectively hijacked the process of organisational reform.

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The Conservatives in Crisis

The Tories after 1997

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