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Minutes of Conservative Parliamentary Backbench Committees, 1930-1992


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Contains the papers of various Conservative Parliamentary Backbench Committees, including minutes, correspondence and notes.


  • Creation: 1930-1992

Language of Materials

  • English

Biographical / Historical

One of the functions of Desk Officers in the CRD, was to attend meetings of committees of the parliamentary party and take the minutes. As a result, the minutes of a number of parliamentary committees survive amongst the records of the Research Department, but survival is patchy and for no committee is a complete series of minutes held.

Of those committees of the parliamentary party for which minutes are held, most series stop by 1990 if not much earlier. Exactly why this happened is not clear, but at some point the practice of CRD staff attending meetings of parliamentary committees ceased. If the committees continued to exist, and minutes continued to be taken, then they were not routinely transferred to the Conservative Party Archive and do not appear to have survived elsewhere. As late as 1987 though, the practice of CRD Desk Officer's attending, and circulating detailed minutes of these meetings, had been positively encouraged, as evidenced by a memorandum sent to all Desk Officers by the then Director of CRD Robin Harris, dated 26th November 1987. For a full list of all the Conservative parliamentary committees in existence following the June 1987 general election, along with Government departments which they reflected, their Labour counterparts, chairmen, vice-chairmen and secretaries, see MPs' Chart (pp. 166-174) by Andrew Roth (Parliamentary Profile Service, 1987).

In more recent decades committees of the parliamentary party appear to have been formed whilst the Party was in Government only, and reflected the various departmental responsibilities of Government – responsible Ministers or guest speakers being invited to address meetings of interested MPs on matters of Government policy. With some exceptions (notably, the Foreign Affairs Committee, amongst others, for which minutes survive for 1946-1974 and 1979-1989) there is consequently a break in the minutes of parliamentary committees after 1964, which often do not resume until 1979. However, once returned to Opposition these committees tended to be wound up, so that there are no minutes of committees of the parliamentary party held in the Conservative Party Archive during the period of Opposition, 1997-2010.

As of 2011, the creation of Conservative parliamentary committees along previous lines has not yet taken shape. It is possible that the rise in importance of Parliamentary Select Committees may mean that the practice of appointing these committees has ceased permanently.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom