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Portrait of a PartyThe Conservative Party in Britain 1918-1945$
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Stuart Ball

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199667987

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199667987.001.0001

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The Constituency Associations

The Constituency Associations

Members and Activities

(p.146) 3 The Constituency Associations
Portrait of a Party

Stuart Ball

Oxford University Press

The third chapter begins the bottom-to-top examination of the Conservative Party, starting with its local constituency Associations—the basic building block of the party machine. Its conclusions are founded upon an investigation of all the local records which could be traced in England, Scotland and Wales; a total of 215 constituencies. It discusses the roles of various parts of the local organisation, including those for women, young people and trade unionists. It then considers the social composition of the party membership, and projects an estimate of the total number of party members. Further aspects examined are the social activities, the income and expenditure, the role of the local party Agents, the selection of parliamentary candidates, and the relationship between the grass-roots membership and the MPs. The chapter concludes with a survey of the political opinions of the Conservative rank and file, and the part these played in the various political events and crises of the period.

Keywords:   constituency parties, grass-roots, membership, women, finance, candidate selection, political opinions

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