The current ruling Party in the British House of Commons is the Conservative and Unionist Party, also referred to as the Conservative Party or Tory Party. The Conservatives retained 364 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons following the 2019 General Election. Out of the 778 seats in the House of Lords, 243 belonged to the Party’s peers.
The Conservative Party, the oldest Party, remaining in office, occupies the Centre-right region of the political spectrum.
By the middle of the 2020s, the Conservative Party had controlled the government for about half of the previous 75 years. The Tories, currently led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are the political Party of various notable figures from the 20th century, including Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.
Principles of the Conservative Party
The Conservative Party is economically liberal in its stance on government regulation, generally supporting the free market.
The Conservative Party, which positions itself as the Party of small business, supports low taxes, saying that doing so will ultimately stimulate the broader economy, leading to better tax receipts and greater economic prosperity. Although it has recently started to adopt a more aggressively interventionist regional policy, the Conservative Party opposes the state owning businesses and industries.
The Conservative Party was frequently connected to conservative social ideas in the twentieth century. But the Party’s strategy has significantly changed in the twenty-first century. The Party now has a more liberal social orientation. The implementation of equal marriage rights for LGBTQ+ couples by the Cameron government in 2010 is the most notable illustration of this shift in strategy. More than any other party at Westminster, the Conservatives now have 20 MPs who publicly identify as LGBTQ.
In comparison to the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party, the Conservative Party is typically seen as favoring tighter immigration controls.
To foster a “special relationship” between the UK and the US, Conservative Prime Ministers have routinely developed close relationships with American Presidents since 1945. The Tory Party has historically had pro- and anti-European wings, but the Party learned more strongly against the continent in the twenty-first century. The Party’s 2019 Election platform concluded with the pledge to “Get Brexit Done.”
The Conservatives are still adamantly pro-Unionist and opposed to the dissolution of the United Kingdom. The Party often opposes constitutional reform.
Voters in the Conservative Party
In Britain’s 2019 election, elderly voters clearly preferred the Conservative Party. According to the polling company YouGov, voters’ likelihood of supporting the Conservatives rises by almost nine percentage points per decade. According to current estimates, the average voter switches from voting Labour to Conservative at around 39.
Men are marginally more likely than women to vote Conservative; this disparity is significantly more pronounced among younger voters and becomes less pronounced with age.
Despite the Labour Party’s historical assertion that it was the working-class Party for much of the twentieth century, this claim is no longer supported by the electoral data.
All social classes favoured the Conservative Party in the 2019 General Election, with working-class voters selecting the Conservative Party over the Labour Party in more significant numbers.
The Conservatives have a definite advantage over non-graduates in terms of education. In contrast, people with a college degree are more likely to support the Labour Party.
Anglican voters support the Conservatives strongly, according to a 2017 YouGov research (58 percent for the Conservatives, compared to 28 percent for Labour). Jewish voters have the same sentiments (63 percent for the Conservatives, compared to 26 percent for Labour). Catholics and other Christian groups were more evenly divided in their voting patterns, with those who claimed no religious connection voting slightly more favorably for the Labour Party.
According to reports, the Muslim Community supports the Conservative Party tiny (11 percent for the Conservatives, compared to 85 percent for the Labour Party). Following some high-profile charges of suspected “Islamophobia” inside the Party in 2019, the Singh Investigation was launched. According to YouGov polls from 2019, Black and Minority Ethnic voters are more likely (64 percent to 20 percent) to vote Labour than Conservative, whilst White voters are the opposite (29 percent for Labour and 48 percent Conservative).
participation in the Conservative Party
The Conservative Party had about 180,000 members as of July 2019. The Conservative Party’s membership exceeded the 2.8 million mark in 1953, at its highest point.
Even though the Conservative Party won the 2019 General Election, its membership levels lagged the Labour Party by a wide margin that year (485,000 members). The Scottish National Party (125,500 members) and the Liberal Democrats were somewhat ahead of the Conservatives regarding membership counts (115,5000).
funding for the Republican Party
Public financing, contributions, loans, and membership fees are a few of the regulated methods used by all political parties in the UK to raise money for their activities and campaigns.
The Conservative Party qualifies for subsidies for policy development because it has more than two MPs in the House of Commons. The Conservatives reportedly received £359,478 in 2015–2016 out of £2 million to be split among all eligible parties each year.
Donations are a vital source of funding for the Conservative Party. “Money, goods, or services provided without charge or on non-commercial terms” are what this means. Before accepting a donation, each political Party must confirm that it is legal. Registered donations are those that surpass £7,500 and are required to be reported to the Electoral Commission. The Conservative Party received 63 percent of all registered donations made during the 2019 general election cycle, totaling £19.4 million.
Additionally, parties have the right to levy unrestricted membership fees.
The Conservative Party now costs £25 for regular annual membership; people under 26 and active-duty and former military personnel pay £5 and £15 annually, respectively.
The Conservative Party’s beginnings
The Whigs then opposed the Tories when they were first established as a political party in Parliament under Queen Anne. Although “Tory” was still used informally, the Tories changed their official party name to “Conservative” throughout the 19th century.
The foundation of the Conservative Party stretches back to the efforts of Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in the second part of the 19th century to win over new urban supporters.
The National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations and Conservative Central Office were subsequently founded. The former’s responsibility was to speak on behalf of the Party’s members and organize the annual Conservative Party Conference. The latter is the Party’s organizational body and has since changed its name to the Conservative Campaign Headquarters. Benjamin Disraeli created the Conservative Party’s organizational structure in the late 19th century. The Conservative Party’s place in British politics was also redefined by Disraeli’s administration, which helped the Tories gain support and become, for the first time, associated with patriotism.
Early in the 20th century, as the issue of giving Ireland more political autonomy rose in political discourse, the Conservative Party joined forces with Liberal Unionists to oppose “Home Rule.”
As a result, the two parties merged to create the current Conservative and Unionist Party in 1912.
The organization of the Conservative Party
The Conservative Association is the lowest tier of the organization within the Conservative Party. With a President and other officers chosen by residents, this neighborhood association often resembles a parliamentary constituency. These neighborhood associations frequently use a local representative.
Regions are also used to organize the Conservative Party around the nation. In each part, the Party has a small number of Regional Chairmen or Chairwomen who oversee organisation and management.
The National Convention is a biannual gathering of local association chairmen, regional officers, and representatives of the Conservative Women’s Association.
The National Convention officers speak on behalf of the Voluntary Party to the Tory hierarchy.
On the Board of the Conservative Party are officers from the National Convention and representatives from the Party’s political and professional branches. In regards to all party operations, this Board has the final say.
Other well-known party organizations include the Conservative Women’s Association, Young Conservatives, and Conservatives Abroad, each of which is in charge of supporting a particular constituency within the Party.
Additionally, the Conservative Party has devoted chapters in Scotland and Wales.
The London address for the campaign headquarters of the Conservative Party is 4 Matthew Parker Street.
Republican Party Leadership
There are two primary steps to selecting the leader of the Conservative Party.
During a Parliamentary stage, prospective candidates must receive the support of 8 other Conservative MPs. The Parliamentary Conservative Party then puts those who meet this standard via votes. Before moving on to the next round, the candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated during this process. There are two candidates left when the process is finished.
The two front-runners in the leadership race square off against one another in the second round of voting by Party members. The victor takes over as leader of the Conservative Party.
Conservative MPs have the option to start a leadership challenge if they are not happy with the Party Leader. This occurs when 15 percent of Conservative MPs notify the chairman of the 1922 Committee in writing that they want to hold a vote of no confidence in the party leader (the body representing all Conservative MPs). Then a voice is arranged.
In June 2022, when Boris Johnson survived a vote of no confidence from his MPs, this procedure was last used. Theresa May resigned as party leader the following summer after overcoming a comparable challenge in December of the previous year. The Party cannot hold a new vote for at least a year after a defeated vote of no confidence.
If the party leader is defeated in a vote of confidence, they are required to resign and are prohibited from seeking reelection.
Conservative Party Candidates for Parliament
The Conservative Party currently follows a multi-stage standard selection process for candidates to run in parliamentary elections.
Typically, prospective candidates must pass the Party’s Parliamentary Assessment Board (PAB). This phase evaluates candidates in several areas and abilities deemed crucial for the position, including communication and political convictions. To minimise potential prejudice, members of the Parliamentary Assessment Board do not have access to applicants’ resumes. Successful applicants are added to the Approved List after being evaluated favourably by the Assessment Board.
Candidates from the approved list often apply for open positions when there is a vacancy for a candidate in a particular constituency (generally because the incumbent candidate has resigned or occasionally because they have been de-selected by a vote of the local Association).
Following interviews and other screening steps, the local Party puts a final short list of candidates up for a vote among the Conservative Party members in that seat. After this procedure is finished, the selected person can run for election as a Conservative MP.