Tactical Committee, c.1947-Sep 1951
The Tactical Committee (alternatively known as the Tactical Staff Committee) was a Central Office committee set up in c.1945 composed partly of ministers/shadow ministers and partly of professional party staff, and was responsible for the party's daily tactical response to the political battle.
It was originally formed by and was chaired by, E.D.[Toby] O'Brien, Director of Information Services at Conservative Central Office, in order to ensure that day to day propaganda points arising in the newspapers and elsewhere were not overlooked, and to deal with such matters in a practical or low level rather than on a strategic or high level way. From its inception it included MPs and members of the Conservative Research Department, and was soon expanded to include other members of Central Office staff, the Whip's Office and Peers. O'Brien's office became a 'Tactical HQ' for meetings held daily on Tuesdays-Fridays each week: 'It would be a task of this committee to consider the tactical implications of events that have occurred and plan ahead to make the best propaganda use of those which are to take place. A short note on the proceedings should be sent to the Chairman and to the Leader and once the Chairman has approved the decisions, a confidential note would be sent to each department or individual whom it affected.' [Source: shelfmark CCO 600/17/1, 14th March 1947].
The Party publication, Weekend Talking Point emerged from July 1947 as a single propaganda topic with a brief indication of the suggested line of approach to be taken, to be selected each week by the Tactical Committee and forwarded to MPs and Candidates to provide maximum impact throughout the country each weekend.
The Tactical Committee appears to have fallen into abeyance just before the 1951 General Election, as no records of its meetings survive beyond Sep 1951; presumably its functions were taken on by another committee which operated for the duration of the campaign only.
- Creation: c.1947-Sep 1951
Language of Materials