Conservative party

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Conservative Party
Conservative Party
Party leader Boris Johnson
Party leader Boris Johnson
founding 1834
Place of foundation London
Headquarters 4 Matthew Parker Street,
London , SW1H 9HQ
Youth organization Young Conservatives
Alignment Progressive conservatism
Economic liberalism
EU skepticism
Colours) blue
British House of Commons
British House of Lords
London Assembly
Number of members 200,000 (as of March 2021)
International connections International Democratic Union
European party European Conservatives and Reformists Party (EKR)

The Conservative and Unionist Party ( German  Conservative and Unionist Party ), short Conservative Party or colloquially called Tories , is a political party in the United Kingdom on the right or center-right spectrum and has existed since the 19th century. In the British two-party system, which is based on majority voting , it is one of the two parties that alternate between the functions of the government and the official opposition party . Her opponent was the Liberal Party until the First World War , whose function was gradually taken over by the Labor Party . At European level, the Conservative Party is a member of the European Democratic Alliance , which after the 2009 European elections in the Group of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the European Party Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists aufgingen (AECR). Its membership is currently around 180,000 (for comparison: as of July 2019, the Liberal Democrats have around 115,000, the SNP has 125,000, the Labor Party around 480,000).


The Conservative Party was formed around 1830 around Robert Peel from a looser grouping that had long before existed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom , the Tory Party . The Conservatives are therefore still called Tories today.

She formulated her first program, the "Tamworth Manifesto", in 1834. The prestigious Carlton Club , which in the 19th century actually functioned as the headquarters of the Conservative Party for several decades, was the informal association of its leadership circles . After 1846 the party was in the opposition - the dispute over the Corn Laws led to the party splitting up and a faction around Peel first forming as an independent group and then joining the Liberals. These then dominated the British party landscape, while the Conservatives were mostly in the opposition. In 1874 they regained a solid majority under Benjamin Disraeli . In 1880 the liberal William Ewart Gladstone took to the field in his Midlothian campaign against Disraeli's government and managed to secure a large majority for the liberals in the general election in 1880 . Gladstone's parliamentary initiative for Irish self-government ( Home Rule ), however, caused a break in the Liberal Party; the Liberal Unionists opposed Gladstone's initiative and split from the Liberals. They formed an alliance with the Conservatives to overthrow Gladstone's legislative initiative, and as a result they tied themselves ever closer to the Conservatives. As a result, the party-political balance of power changed permanently in favor of the conservatives. Over the next few decades, you appointed two important Prime Ministers, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour .

In the 19th century, the Conservatives were the main proponents of imperialist politics . Under Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was Queen Victoria to the Empress of India crowned. The question of free trade, however, split the party throughout the 19th century and led to the Liberals' last major election victory in 1906 . The later Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill left the Conservatives during this period and became a Liberal. The dispute over Home Rule for Ireland and other liberal legislative measures caused heated arguments in the following years.

Since it was formally united with the Liberal Unionists in 1912, the party has been officially called the Conservative and Unionist Party . In 1915, due to the First World War, a coalition was formed between the ruling Liberals and the Conservatives, which overthrew Prime Minister HH Asquith at the end of 1916 and made David Lloyd George Prime Minister in his place.

In 1922, an internal revolt in the Conservative Party led to the overthrow of Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who went into opposition. From then on, the Labor Party increasingly replaced the Liberals as the main competitor of the Conservatives. In 1945 the Labor Party was even able to achieve an absolute majority for the first time and thus form a sole government (→ post-war period in Great Britain ). It replaced the war coalition that had existed since 1940 under Winston Churchill, who, however, again won an election for the Tories in 1951 . During this time the party temporarily moved to the left and programmatically took over many points of the last Labor government. From the mid-1970s, this post-war consensus was abandoned under the conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher , who held the longest term in office in the 20th century (1979–1990) as prime minister and whose policy was known as “ Thatcherism ”.

Under Thatcher, the Tories gradually became the more EU-skeptical of the major UK parties. So far, the party has deeply divided its position on the European Union and the introduction of the euro . In the end, not only Thatcher fell over this question, but also her three conservative successors as prime ministers. After the 2010 election, a memo on European policy became known that influenced the coalition negotiations.

Voting share of the parties since 1832: Conservatives (blue), Whigs / Liberals / LibDems (orange), Labor (red)

Between 1979 and 1997, the Conservative Party with Margaret Thatcher and John Major provided the Prime Minister. After John Major lost to Tony Blair ( Labor ) in the 1997 general election , the Conservative Party found itself in opposition . After the general election in 2010 , the Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, was able to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats around Nick Clegg . David Cameron replaced Blair's successor Gordon Brown (Labor) as Prime Minister. In the general election of 2015 , the Tories managed, contrary to the polls, to achieve their own majority in the lower house, so that the Liberal Democrats left the government.

After a majority of the British voted in a referendum to leave the European Union in 2016 , David Cameron resigned from his office and was replaced by Theresa May as party and government leader. May called a 2017 House of Commons election in which the Tories lost an absolute majority, and has since been tolerated by the DUP .

After May lost the support of her party , not least as a result of the EU election , she resigned from the party leadership in June 2019 in order to enable the party to hold a new election, including for the office of prime minister. Boris Johnson took over the party leadership on July 23, 2019 .

One problem for the party is the aging of its membership; it has fallen from nearly 1,500,000 to around 160,000 members since the early 1980s. With the Conservative Trade Unionists , the Conservative Party has a (small) workers' organization. The party shows numerous currents, which in the 1980s included the wets (the "wet", state interventionists ) and dries (the "dry", neoliberals ) factions , or today the mods (both economic and social liberal in individual issues) and the rockers (authoritarian-traditionalist) count.

1922 committee

The 1922 committee organized - among other tasks and activities - the election of a new party leader. Thus, it oversees the election procedure from the candidate registration through the preliminary voting to the final postal vote by the party members. The number of pre-votes depends on the number of candidates, i. H. at z. B. five candidates, three preliminary votes are necessary (in each of the preliminary votes, the last candidate is eliminated) in order to ultimately be able to offer the members two candidates for postal voting.

Party leader ( leaders )

Surname Term of office (beginning) Term of office (end)
Spencer Perceval (Tory Party) 1809 1812
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (Tory Party) 1812 1827
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich (Tory Party) 1827 1828
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (Tory Party) 1828 1834
Robert Peel 1834 1846
Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby 1846 1868
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield 1868 1881
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 1881 1902
Arthur James Balfour July 12, 1902 November 8, 1911
Andrew Bonar Law November 13, 1911 March 17, 1921
Austen Chamberlain March 21, 1921 October 19, 1922
Andrew Bonar Law October 23, 1922 May 22, 1923
Stanley Baldwin May 22, 1923 May 28, 1937
Neville Chamberlain May 28, 1937 October 9, 1940
Winston Churchill October 9, 1940 April 7, 1955
Anthony Eden April 7, 1955 January 9, 1957
Harold Macmillan January 11, 1957 October 19, 1963
Alec Douglas Home October 19, 1963 July 27, 1965
Edward Heath July 27, 1965 February 11, 1975
Margaret Thatcher February 11, 1975 November 28, 1990
John Major November 28, 1990 June 19, 1997
William Hague June 19, 1997 September 13, 2001
Iain Duncan Smith September 13, 2001 November 6, 2003
Michael Howard November 6, 2003 December 6, 2005
David Cameron December 6, 2005 July 11, 2016
Theresa May July 11, 2016 June 7, 2019
Boris Johnson 23rd July 2019

Chair ( Chairman )

While the party leader is the actual chairman of the party, the chairman has the task of a general secretary who is responsible for the internal business operations of the party and is head of the central party office. During the times when the Conservative Party provides the Prime Minister, the chairman is usually a member of the government, usually as a minister with no portfolio . In addition to the chairman, there are often deputy chairmen ( Deputy Chairman / Vice-Chairman ) for important policy areas such as youth, women or local politics. Conservative leaders were:



Web links

Commons : Conservative Party (UK)  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Blake: The Conservative Party from Peel to Major. Faber and Faber, London 1997, p. 137.
  2. ^ The Tory letter on Europe in full. The Guardian , May 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Torn Tories Le Monde diplomatique, accessed January 29, 2019
  4. ^ Tory leadership: Tactical voting claims over Johnson and Hunt win BBC, accessed June 23, 2019