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Describe The Organisation And Membership Of The British Conservative Party

819 words - 3 pages

The Organisation and Membership of the Conservative Party This report looks into the make-up of the Conservative Party, how the different departments link up and its membership.The Conservative Party is the oldest of the current major political parties, and has been in power, either as a stand-alone or coalition government, for the majority (two thirds) of the years since the end of the First World War.Following the massive landslide election defeat in the summer, William Hague resigned as party leader. There followed a closely fought leadership battle between favourites Michael Portillo, Kenneth Clarke and Iain Duncan-Smith, from which Duncan-Smith emerged the eventual winner. Other key figures in the shadow cabinet include Michael Anchram as Shadow Secretary of State and deputy leader, Michael Howard as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and David Davis as party chairman. There were 166 Conservative MP's voted in during the last general election.There are many different groups and institutions that make up the Conservative Party Organisation. Firstly we have the 1922 committee. This is the Conservative MP's own association, which elects all its own officers and executive committee. It only deals with the Party Leader by invitation, and is where Iain Duncan-Smith made his debut address to the party shortly after his appointment. Traditionally strongly supporting Party Leaders (at least publicly), this committee has considerable influence within the party, and ""¦Conservative leaders, if they are wise, take care never to ignore the advice of the 1922 committee" (Jones et al 2001: 241). There are a number of other committees within the Conservative Party focusing on matters relating to policy or regional groupings. Whilst being slightly peripheral in opposition, when in government these committees can be very influential with regards to policy making.A further crucial part to the organisation of the Conservatives is the annual conference. Although the conference no longer decides on any policies, it is important to the Party as a way of communicating to members and lesser party officials. It gives a broad overview of key policies, and allows the party leader to address his party as a whole. This is important because it shows other parties and the country as a whole the unity and togetherness of the party. Also analysts can gauge the mood of members with regards to new legislature or policy changes that might first arise at the conference.The Conservative Party, like Labour and the Liberal Democrats has a central office from...

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