The Conservative Party has been the most successful political party in the UK over the past century. Post-war, it had two long spells in office from 1951 to 1964, and 1979 to 1997. In opposition between 1997 and 2010, the Conservative Party struggled to compete with the Labour Party, particularly under Tony Blair. It had five different leaders during this period John Major, William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron. This lack of success had consequences for policy and party positioning, with the Conservatives alternating between periods of seemingly ‘one nation’ paternalistic conservatism, followed by periods where the party has emphasised more ‘Thatcherite’ and nationalist policies. Acting as the lead partner in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives returned to power in May 2010. They then went on to win a small majority in 2015. This enabled them to govern alone for the first time since the 1992–1997 parliament. They went on to lose that majority, despite remaining the largest party and forming a minority administration, in a wholly unnecessary snap general election in 2017.
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- The Conservative Party
Dr Alistair Clark
- Macmillan Education UK
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