A split over tariff policy caused them to lose the election of in a disastrous landslide, and they did not regain power until they joined a wartime coalition with the Liberals in May In the election of , most of the candidates elected to support the coalition were Conservatives. The rebellion owed much to the revulsion felt by many backbenchers toward the Liberal leader and prime minister, David Lloyd George , and to their unease over some of the more interventionist reforms introduced by Liberal ministers. A surprise election called in December by Conservative prime minister Stanley Baldwin proved to be a miscalculation that briefly reunited the ailing Liberal Party and opened the way to a minority Labour Party government, though the Conservatives remained the largest single party and were able to regain power the following year.
Apart from another brief Labour administration in —31, the Conservatives dominated national office until Chamberlain was replaced by another Conservative, Winston Churchill , who formed a coalition government with the Labour Party. Although Churchill led the country to victory in the war, he failed to lead his own party to success in the first postwar election in While in opposition, the party reformed its policies and organization.
The party returned to power in and maintained office until Moreover, the party did not seek to reverse the welfare measures nor most of the public ownership of industry that had been introduced by Labour in — The Conservative government did embark on an extensive house-building program and was able to reduce income taxes while increasing spending on the National Health Service.
From to the Conservatives held power alternately with the Labour Party. Under the prime ministership of Edward Heath —74 , the party pursued policies designed to deregulate finance and industry. Economic problems led to confrontations with the trade unions, especially the National Union of Miners, and to internal party dissension. Heath called an election in and the party lost, allowing Labour to form a minority government. After losing a second national election to Labour in , Heath was succeeded as party leader by Margaret Thatcher , who during her four years as leader of the opposition —79 frequently stated her determination to pursue deregulation and supply-side economic reforms.
She combined this ambitious economic agenda—which included the privatization of several state-owned industries and the sale of more than 1. His less charismatic political style did not prevent him from winning the general election of , but he had to contend with a prolonged economic recession, internal party conflict over the question of European integration, and dismally low opinion-poll ratings.
Richard Wade read economics at the University of Warwick before being awarded postgraduate degrees in history and in government from the University of Essex, UK. He has taught US politics, international relations, international political economy and quantitative methods and has also worked in corporate banking. The book's strength lies in its meticulous examination of original documents in the Conservative Party and National Archives, in the extensive range of interviews with key players and in its demonstration that policy-making has implicitly drawn on the twin strands of Tory paternalism and Whig liberalism.
Richard Wade has produced a definitive study of economic policy-making in the Conservative party from Edward Heath' premiership to the fall of John Major's government in The analysis provides a comprehensive analysis of what happened in the years when Mrs Thatcher was in Downing Street and lucidly explains why it happened. This was a period of dramatic change which shaped subsequent economic policy, making the book is a 'must read' for anyone trying to understand the origins of contemporary economic policy.
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