The Conservative parliamentary party
in The Conservatives in Crisis

The Conservative parliamentary party elected in 1997 comprised just 165 MPs, lower than at any time since 1906. William Hague's reforms have ended the parliamentary party's monopoly in leadership selection, but the parliamentarians remained extremely important, far more so than in other British political parties. Despite being the major faultline during the Major leadership, there were remarkably few backbench revolts over Europe under Hague's leadership. Hague's inoffensiveness was confirmed by a survey, conducted before the 1997 election, of Conservative MPs and prospective candidates. The behaviour of Conservative MPs between 1997 and 2001 was almost the mirror image of that of Labour MPs in the same period. Even without the activities of the awkward squad, Conservative MPs voted against their party line more times than Labour MPs did.

The Conservatives in Crisis

The Tories after 1997

Editors: Mark Garnett and Philip Lynch


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