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Gender and the Conservative Party, 1880s to the present

Historians and political scientists have deemed the twentieth century 'the Conservative Century', owing to the electoral and cultural dominance of the Conservative Party in Britain. This book traces the relationship among women, gender and the Conservative Party from the 1880s to the present, and thereby seeks to fill that gap. A gender inclusive approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of political machinations, power and the unprecedented popularity of both conservatism and unionism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The suffragette Christabel Pankhurst, was regarded as a charismatic, radical figure, who was the co-leader of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a notorious suffrage organization campaigning for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain. In 1928 Lady Iveagh, Vice-Chairman of the National Union of Conservative Associations (NUCA), claimed that one million women were members of the Conservative Party. The book focuses on how the Primrose League re-made itself for its female members between 1914 and 1932. It shows that the Conservative Party leadership and male candidates were keen to present themselves as the champions of home interests, playing up their family-man credentials against their rowdy electoral culture of Labour. The book also examines inquires how the deliberate choice of middlebrow rhetoric as well as the language of citizenship enabled Conservative women to construct a cross-class language of democracy. It explores British conservatism, highlighting the history of the Tory Party as part of the study of women and their sectional interest in 'the politics of gender'.

Richard Kelly

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 (the voluntary extra-parliamentary party), and Conservative Central Office (the professional The extra-parliamentary party 83 or bureaucratic wing of the extra-parliamentary party). As an Inland Revenue report confirmed in 1982, ‘the Conservative Party’ did not even exist as a legally recognised entity.3 After 1992

in The Conservatives in Crisis
The women’s Conservative organisation in the age of partial suffrage, 1914–28
David Thackeray

3 At the heart of the party? The women’s Conservative organisation in the age of partial suffrage, 1914–28 David Thackeray In 1928 Lady Iveagh, Vice-­Chairman of the National Union of Conservative Associations (NUCA), claimed that one million women were members of the Conservative Party. While it would be prudent to question how many of these were active members, it was undoubtedly true that the Conservatives had been more successful than their rivals in attracting women members. At this time, the Conservative Women’s Organisation was around four times the size

in Rethinking right-wing women
Abstract only
David Thackeray

non-party cultures during the early 1920s. Annie Chamberlain’s social clubs imitated the organisation of the WIs, and Conservatives celebrated the creation of the British Legion which, they claimed, had removed party politics from the question of ex-servicemen’s welfare.52 Conservative constituency associations appear to have made great use of speakers and literature from non-party organisations, as these services were often available at a nominal cost. A National Union of Conservative Associations handbook produced in 1925 noted that propaganda literature ‘is

in Conservatism for the democratic age
David Thackeray

of our Brilliantly Coloured Picture and Word Posters (London, n.d., c. 1905), p. 11. 23 ‘Vote for Dunne! and the women’s budget’, Walsall Local History Centre Special Collections, election material, January 1910/42. 24 CPA, Microfiche 0.396, card 148, National Union of Conservative Associations, The Woman and the Canvasser, leaflet no.1261, n.d. [1909]. 25 Mary Maxse, Tariff Reform and Cheap Living (London, 1910), pp. 8, 11. 26 Churchill College, Cambridge, Page Croft MSS, Nottingham Daily Guardian, 28 June 1905, cutting in CRFT3/1; Bournemouth Echo, 9

in Conservatism for the democratic age
David Thackeray

, 1997), pp. 131–52 at p. 144. Thackeray.indd 112 1/10/2013 10:11:15 AM Labour, civic associations and the new democracy 113 5 CPA, National Union of Conservative Associations, NUA3/1/1, Central Council minutes, 8 June 1917. 6 Keohane, Party of Patriotism, pp. 132–3. 7 Turner, British Politics and the Great War, p. 191; for tensions in the constituencies see E.H.H. Green, ‘Conservatism, Anti-Socialism, and the end of the Lloyd George Coalition’, in his Ideologies of Conservatism, pp. 114–34 at pp. 118–19; Bates, ‘Conservative Party in the constituencies

in Conservatism for the democratic age
David Thackeray

of Conservative Associations (NUCA), and losing touch with local constituency branches. Wells’ leadership came under attack at the NUCA conference in November 1905, where a resolution was adopted which complained that the management of the central office in London was defective and needed revising.36 Wells subsequently quit his post, but the party reorganisation that followed in 1906 was far from satisfactory. Provincial divisions were abolished, which meant that each county had to appoint its own secretary and agent rather than using the central office district

in Conservatism for the democratic age
David Thackeray

’s programme divided and demoralised Unionists in other regions where free trade remained strong. This was the case in the Liberal stronghold of North Wales. Following the 1906 election a Unionist conference was held to revive the party in Denbighshire and Flintshire. Chamberlain’s supporters, who dominated the North Wales Division of the National Union of Conservative Associations, were at the forefront of calls for a more democratic organisation, with greater working-class and female representation.17 During subsequent years Denbighshire Unionists implemented significant

in Conservatism for the democratic age
Abstract only
Robert F. Dewey, Jr.

Conservative parliamentary candidate, losing out on the first occasion to Clement Attlee at Walthamstow West.16 He served on the Executive Committee of the National Union of Conservative Associations and chaired the South Kensington Conservative Association until March 1961. An honorary secretary of the Society for Individual Freedom, Paul was also chair of the General Purposes Committee at the Primrose League, a position that allowed him access to the platform at the 1962 Conservative Party Correspondence between Leo Russell and A. Bryant, 21 November 1962, AB Papers H/4

in British national identity and opposition to membership of Europe, 1961–63