The Conservative Party and the extreme right 1945–75

Author: Mark Pitchford

This book reveals the Conservative Party's relationship with the extreme right between 1945 and 1975. It shows how the Party, realising that its well-documented pre-Second World War connections with the extreme right were now embarrassing, used its bureaucracy to implement a policy of investigating extreme-right groups and taking action to minimise their chances of success. The book focuses on the Conservative Party's investigation of right-wing groups, and shows how its perception of their nature determined the party bureaucracy's response. It draws on extensive information from the Conservative Party Archive, supported by other sources, including interviews with leading players in the events of the 1970s. The book draws a comparison between the Conservative Party machine's negative attitude towards the extreme right and its support for progressive groups. It concludes that the Conservative Party acted as a persistent block to the external extreme right in a number of ways, and that the Party bureaucracy persistently denied the extreme right party assistance, access to funds and representation within party organisations. The book reaches a climax with the formulation of a ‘plan’ threatening its own candidate if he failed to remove the extreme right from the Conservative Monday Club.

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