A large number and diverse range of autonomous or independent pressure groups and special interest groups benefit (or have benefitted in the past) from affiliation to the Conservative Party. Most of these still retain their own papers but a few have transferred material to the Conservative Party Archive, and it is hoped that more will do so in the future, at which point their records will be included here.
Those organisations for which records are held are listed below; covering dates relate to holdings, not dates of existence. Additionally, correspondence between these and many other organisations can be found amongst Conservative Central Office filing registry series CCO 3: Outside Organisations, 1936-1978:
Association of Conservative Clubs (2008-present)
Conservative Councillors' Association
Conservative Foreign & Commonwealth Council (1953-1988)
Conservative Friends of Poland (2009-present)
Conservative Group for Europe (1974; 1984-1988)
Conservative Health (c1980s-2000s)
Conservative Women's Organisation (1920-1997)
Federation of Conservative Graduates (1973-1993)
Federation of Conservative Students (1948-1986)
Junior Imperial League (1906-1946)
National Society of Conservative & Unionist Agents (1891-1997)
Society of Conservative Lawyers (1955-2004)
Young Britons' Organisation (1931-1965)
Young Conservatives (1946-1986)
ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATIVE CLUBS (2008-present) [Uncatalogued]
The ACC represents and provides support to approximately 1,100 political clubs throughout the country. It was formed in 1894 and its objects are to assist and encourage the formation of all types of Conservative clubs - including Conservative Working Men's Clubs, Constitutional Clubs, Unionist Clubs and Beaconsfield Clubs - and to support the principles and aims of the Conservative Party.
Only copies of the ACC's newsletter are held in the Conservative Party Archive. Its original records dating back to 1894 are held by the Association, but access can be arranged by permission of the Secretary.
CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS' ASSOCIATION (2002-present)
The CCA exists to provide a strong and unified voice for all Conservative councillors within the Party and in the wider community. The CCA supports councillors in their important role and provides them with the tools to both work effectively on behalf of local residents and to campaign successfully as Conservatives.
It was set up under the reforms to the Conservative Party introduced after the 1997 General Election and is the official voice of Conservative Councillors within the Party's decision making process. Its principal roles include the recruitment, training and development of councillors and prospective council candidates, as well as providing a forum for discussions on best practice, policy issues and a variety of other activities all geared towards influencing the Party about the role of Conservative Councillors.
The CCA is independent of the Conservative Party, but is run from Conservative Central Office. It is managed by a Board of twelve, and its Chairman is automatically a member of the Board of the Conservative Party. All Conservative councillors are required to join the CCA.
The CCA took over responsibility for organising the annual Local Government Conference and produces various publications to inform Conservative Councillors, including its quarterly magazine, Input.
Input, 2002-present [See series PUB 232]
CONSERVATIVE FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH COUNCIL (1953-1988)
Originally formed as the Conservative Commonwealth Council in 1953, it was reconstituted as the Conservative Commonwealth & Overseas Council in 1966, and again as the Conservative Foreign & Commonwealth Council in 1984. It was a group of Conservative parliamentarians and Party members set up with the approval of Conservative Central Office, for the purpose of 'stimulating study and activity within the Party on Commonwealth and Colonial matters, and would become a rallying-point for anti-Communists and anti-Socialists in the Commonwealth.' Various working groups were formed to mirror the sub-committees of the Conservative Parliamentary Commonwealth Affairs Committee [See CCO 507/1], and it was serviced by the Conservative Overseas Bureau [See CCO 507/2] within Conservative Central Office (formerly part of the Conservative Political Centre), which became the International Office from 1973.
Conservative Commonwealth Council: Executive Committee minutes, 1953-1966 [See series CCO 507/3/5]
CCC/CCOC annual conference papers, 1953-1974 [See series CCO 507/3/1-3]
CCC/CCOC/CFCC other papers, 1953-1988 [uncatalogued]
CONSERVATIVE FRIENDS OF POLAND (2009-present) [Uncatalogued]
Conservative Friends of Poland (CFoP) is a cross-border platform for exchange on central and regional issues and a forum for cooperation. It was established in February 2008 with the aim of strengthening relations between the British and Polish communities in the UK and Poland. Its purpose is to act as the main interface between politicians, organisations and communities to provide an open exchange of views. CFoP aims to encourage a mutually beneficial dialogue within the Conservative Party to further the knowledge, create links and forge partnerships in political, cultural and social arenas both internally in the UK and Poland, and in fora such as the European Parliament.
Conservative Future was set up to bring the Young Conservatives, the Conservative Collegiate Forum, Conservative Students and Conservative Graduates into one organisation, under William Hague's reforms in 1998.
Its purpose is to encourage Conservative Party values and assist in local and general elections. It has branches at most British universities, but also has a number of branches affiliated with city and town associations. It is run by a National Team, elected annually, with its chairman assisted by a National Management Executive, and a National Organiser within Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
[No records are held by the Conservative Party Archive, but some are expected to be deposited soon - as at March 2011]
CONSERVATIVE GROUP FOR EUROPE (1974; 1984-1988)
The Conservative Group for Europe was formed in the late 1970s. Its remit is to support and promote Britain's active and full-hearted membership of the European Union and to act as a source of information for the Party on European matters.
The Group works with MPs, MEPs and others with specialist knowledge to produce timely policy research. Publications, which take the form of full policy pamphlets or shorter briefing papers entitled Policy Points, aim to stimulate debate within the Party and beyond on a wide range of European issues.
[Annual reports of the Conservative Group for Europe can be found amongst the minutes of the Conservatives Overseas Bureau - see series CCO 507/2].
Policy Points, 1974 [See series PUB 134]
Other records, 1984-1988 [uncatalogued]
CONSERVATIVE HEALTH (c1980s-2000s) [uncatalogued]
Conservative Health was originally established in the 1980s as the Conservative Medical Society to promote debate within the Conservative Party on health care, by holding meetings and publishing papers on health matters.
Full membership was open to anyone with a professional health qualification, while Associate membership was available to those interested or involved with the development of improved health care throughout the United Kingdom. The Society was open to differing views, but committed to Conservative principles of freedom, quality and diversity - and to the principle that the NHS should remain as the provider of health care for all who need it, free at the point of delivery.
The Society changed its name to Conservative Health in January 2011.
CONSERVATIVE WOMEN'S ORGANISATION (1920-1997)
The Conservative Women's Organisation is the grass-roots network representing all women members of the Conservative Party. It traces its history back to 1919 and the formation of the Women's National Advisory Committee of the National Union.
The CWO provides support and focus for women in the Conservative Party, offering training and mentoring and encouraging them to be politically active. It campaigns on issues of particular concern to women both nationally and internationally, and helps the Conservative Party to capture the women's vote.
The CWO is self-funding, and runs an annual conference, usually in London. It also liaises with MPs, members of the House of Lords, MEPs, the Conservative Party Board, Conservative Future, Conservative Campaign Headquarters, Conservative councillors, other centrist political parties and outside organisations. It works closely with the Conservative Minister or Shadow Minister for Women and the Party's Vice Chairman for Women. It also runs the Conservative Women's Forum - which enables women whether they are Party members or not, to speak face to face with Parliamentarians - and C-WiSE (the Conservative Women in Small Enterprises) - to provide professional and entrepreneurial women in small and micro-businesses with an opportunity to engage with issues that impact their business lives.
The CWO has an Executive Committee which includes representatives from all twelve Conservative Party regions of the UK, along with co-opted members with links to other parts of the Conservative Party.
Women's National Advisory Committee: (national level) minutes and papers, 1935-1980s [See series CCO 170]
Women's National Advisory Committee: (national level) annual conferences, 1939-1997 [See series CCO 170/3]
Women's National Advisory Committee: (Area level) minutes and papers, 1920-1980s [See series ARE]
FEDERATION OF CONSERVATIVE GRADUATES (1973-1993)
Formerly the National Association of Conservative Graduates, it was set up as a national advisory committee of the National Union in 1969. It held its inaugural meeting on 26th July 1969 and was merged with the Young Conservatives, Conservative Collegiate Forum and Conservative Students in 1998 to form Conservative Future. Most of the records of the Federation of Conservative Graduates have yet to be catalogued.
Minutes, 1973-1978; 1992 [uncatalogued]
Commentary, 1990-1993 [See series PUB 136]
FEDERATION OF CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS (1948-1986)
Initially named the Federation of University Conservative and Unionists Associations (FUCUA), the Federation of Conservative Students was set up in the late 1940s to act as a bridge between the student movement and the Conservative Party. The students were organised not through constituency associations but in separate branches of the Federation based on universities and colleges. Following its controversial swing to the right, it was closed down by the then Party Chairman, Norman Tebbit for bringing the Party into disrepute, and replaced by the Conservative Collegiate Forum in 1986. Most of the records of the Federation of Conservative Students have yet to be catalogued.
Minutes, 1953-1986 [uncatalogued]
Other papers, 1949-1970 [See series CCO 506/25-31]
Comment, 1948-1952 [See series PUB 202]
JUNIOR IMPERIAL (AND CONSTITUTIONAL) LEAGUE (1906-1946)
Established on 3rd July, 1906 in the wake of a catestrophic election defeat, the Junior Imperial League was the first Conservative Party organisation specifically formed to cater for young people. It was completely separate from the Party organisation but became fully integrated with it in the inter-War period. Its objectives were to create a practical interest in political work and organisation among the youth by organising Junior Associations in each Parliamentary Division and throughout the Empire, to co-operate with existing Conservative and Unionist Associations in advancing the cause of Imperial unity, to uphold constitutional principles, and to further the Conservative and Unionist cause. Following suspension during the First World War, it was re-established in the 1920s, and reorganised on a constituency basis in 1928. It went into hibernation during the Second World War and was reconstituted as the Young Conservatives in 1946 [for which, see below].
Minutes and papers, 1905-1946 [See series CCO 506/1-6]
Junior Imperial League Gazette, 1921-1924 [See series PUB 199]
The Imp, 1927-1937 [See series PUB 128]
Torchbearer, 1937-1939 [See series PUB 218]
NATIONAL SOCIETY OF CONSERVATIVE & UNIONIST AGENTS (1891-1997)
The National Society of Conservative and Unionist Agents was set up as the professional body for Agents in November 1891. It reflected the trend for Party political business and especially electoral work to be carried out by a new class of skilled Agents instead of through local solicitorsí firms, and a desire from Agents to consolidate their status as professional men.
The National Society began as a federation of the existing regional unions of Conservative Agents and the first formal meeting took place in Birmingham on 25th November, 1891, chaired by Mr Middleton, the Chief Agent. At this same meeting, the National Society drafted a Code of Rules for Agents, approved the form of certificates, and appointed a Board of Examiners. In 1925 a Joint Examination Board was established and, with National Union approval, Agents appointed after 1933 were required to hold the Boardís examination certificate. Central Office assisted with the training and examination of Agents, part of which was undertaken at Ashridge College and Swinton College.
The increasing employment of a full-time Woman Organiser specifically to deal with women's associations and branches led to the development of a parallel organisation, the National Society of Conservative & Unionist Women Organisers in the 1920s. Women did not finally become eligible to take the Agentsí examination and join the National Society of Agents until 1946. Following the Party's decision stop training Agents and appoint in their stead 'Campaign Managers', the National Society formally changed its name to the National Society of Conservative Agents and other Campaign Staff (NSCACS) at its Annual General Meeting in May 2012.
Journals, 1891-1997 [See series PUB 1-13]
Other papers, 1947-1974 [See series CCO 509]
SOCIETY OF CONSERVATIVE LAWYERS (1955-2004) [uncatalogued]
Founded in 1947 as the Inns of Court Conservative & Unionist Society, the Society's membership consists of lawyers with an interest in Conservative policy and it runs a regular diary of meetings and dinners with a strong political theme. It quickly became a leading think tank on law reform and legal issues. It also provides expert legal advice to the Conservative Front Bench, hosts debates on topical issues, and helps to shape manifestos and policy. It changed its name to the Society of Conservative Lawyers in 1971.
Other papers, 1955-1990s
YOUNG BRITONS' ORGANISATION (1931-1965)
The Young Britons Organisation was formed in 1925 as the juvenile branch of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations. It catered for the 6-16 year old age group, recruiting both boys and girls, its aim being to 'counteract the blasphemous and seditious doctrine of the Communists' as represented by the Socialist Sunday Schools'. It was linked to the local associations and reached a membership of 500,000 during its heyday of the 1930s. The organisation was closed down during the Second World War and was reformed in 1948, but never returned to its former popularity. It was formally closed down in 1965.
Central Committee minutes, 1954-1965 [See series CCO 506/8/3]
Other papers, 1931-1965 [See series CCO 506/7-8]
YOUNG CONSERVATIVES (1946-1993)
The Young Conservatives evolved out of the Junior Imperial League (for which, see above), which had ceased to function, in July 1946, and was more closely integrated with Party structure at every level. It was formed as a National Advisory Committee of the National Union, with Area Advisory Committees at Area level and branches in most constituencies. In its early years it proved phenomenally successful, with over 1,000 branches formed in its first 6 months, and 2,375 by its peak in December 1949. Thereafter membership dropped off, from 160,433 in 1949 to 27,500 in 1978, and 6-9,000 in 1993. It catered for the 16-30 year old age group. It 1998 it was closed and replaced by a new organisation, Conservative Future.
Young Conservatives' National Advisory Committee minutes and papers, 1946-1985 [See series CCO 506/19]
Young Conservatives' National Advisory Committee minutes and papers, 1985-1993 [uncatalogued]
Young Conservatives' Area Advisory Committees: minutes and papers, 1946-1976 [See series ARE]
Young Conservatives' Natianal Advisory Committee: other papers, 1948-1969 [See series CCO 506/14-24]
Young Conservatives' annual conferences, c1950-1969 [See series CCO 506/16]
Young Conservatives' pamphlets, 1947-1976 [See series PUB 90/18-30]
Advance, 1946-1953 [See series PUB 144]
Rightway, 1954-1958 [See series PUB 144]
Impact, 1964-1979 [See series PUB 201]
Tomorrow, 1979-1986 [See series PUB 139]
Conservative Party Archive
Last updated: 15 May 2013, Jeremy McIlwaine