Conservative Schisms

  • Andrew Gamble


The Conservative Party has long seemed one of the great certainties of British politics. So dominant had it become in the 1980s that the twentieth century was dubbed the Conservative Century,2 and there was some speculation after the party won its fourth election in a row in 1992 that Britain now had a dominant party system like Japan.3 But soon after that election the party was plunged into a deep schism over its policy towards Europe, and lost its reputation for economic competence. Its poll ratings plunged and in 1997 it suffered a major election defeat, and then a second defeat of similar proportions in 2001, the first time the Conservatives had experienced this in the democratic era. After every election defeat in the twentieth century, however serious it seemed at the time, the Conservatives at the subsequent election had made a strong recovery in both seats and votes, and created a platform which carried them back into office at the next attempt. The election result in 2001 gave no sign that a Conservative recovery had begun.


Twentieth Century Labour Movement Maastricht Treaty Conservative Government Constitutional State 
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Copyright information

© Andrew Gamble 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Gamble

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