Lord Parkinson
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Commentary 1 The reform of the Conservative Party

When William Hague appeared on the platform at the 2001 Conservative Party conference, he was greeted by a wave of sympathy, which extended far beyond the audience at Blackpool. This was more than the usual reaction to a plucky underdog: it was a well-deserved testimony to the dignity which had marked William's conduct since the 2001 general election. William had decided to make reform of the party, the central plank of his leadership campaign. This was the right response to the grievances, real or imaginary, of our grass roots membership. Richard Kelly claims that the effect of the new Board was to 'nourish the party's top-down mentality', 'stifle grass-root initiatives' and so on. Kelly has criticised the eventual composition of the Party Board on the grounds that it was insufficiently democratic.

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The Conservatives in Crisis

The Tories after 1997

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