Conservative Party Archive: Conservatives in the European Parliament
Comprises the records of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, as follows:
- Papers and correspondence of the Delegation Leadership, 1973-2010;
- Minutes and papers of meetings of the whole Delegation, 1975-1999;
- Papers for Study Days and Group conferences, 1974-2005;
- Minutes and papers of Bureau meetings, 1980-2009;
- Papers and correspondence of Group Secretariat and Delegation staff members, 1974-2009;
- Papers and memoranda of Delegation Whips (incomplete), 1992-2009;
- Subject files and miscellaneous papers, 1971-2015.
- Creation: 1971-2009
43.5 Linear metres (290 boxes)
Language of Materials
- Dutch; Flemish
- Greek, Modern (1453-)
- Spanish; Castilian
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, Conservative Party Archive [followed by shelfmark, e.g. CCO 508/1/1].
Full range of shelfmarks:
CCO 508/1-7; CCO 508/15-17.
Collection ID (for staff)
CPA CCO 508
Records of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, and the European Parliamentary groups to which the Conservative Party Delegation was affiliated, 1971-2015.
Biographical / Historical
The Conservative Delegation to the European Parliament, usually styled as the Conservatives in the European Parliament, has existed continuously since British accession to the European Economic Community in 1973. Consisting of the parliamentary group of Conservative Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the Conservative Delegation was structurally separate to that of the Conservative Party as a whole, with its own leadership, executive committee (the Bureau), whips, and secretariat.
In order to organise effectively within the European Parliament, throughout its existence the Conservative Delegation has affiliated to a series of transnational European Parliamentary Groups, as follows:
- The European Conservative Group (1973-1979), formed from an alliance between Conservative MEPs and Danish MEPs representing conservative parties. The group existed during the period of the unelected European Parliament, and represented a centre-right political position distinct from that of the Christian Democrat and Eurosceptic political groups.
- The European Democratic Group (1979-1992), a direct successor to the European Conservative Group whose membership at points additionally included MEPs from the Ulster Unionist Party and the Popular Alliance Party of Spain. The group was the third-largest during the 1979-1984 and 1984-1989 parliamentary terms, but losses at the 1989 European Elections threatened the Group's viability and led to its dissolution in 1992.
- The Group of the European People's Party (1992-1999), a centre-right grouping which the Conservative Delegation joined as allied members following the dissolution of the European Democratic Group. Unlike the majority of the Group's members, the Conservative Delegation did not affiliate with the European People's Party (a historically Christian Democrat transnational party that expanded during the 1990s to encompass a broad-church centre-right position), an arrangement that enabled Conservative MEPs to continue to stand on a separate manifesto that did not commit the Party to the federalist policies of their allies.
- The Group of the European People's Party and European Democrats (1999-2009), a successor to the Group of the European People's Party that formalised the distinction between the Group's federalist and Eurosceptic elements. In spite of the new structure, membership continued to prove unpopular among the Conservative Party membership, and in 2005 David Cameron became leader of the Party on a pledge to withdraw the Conservative Delegation from the Group.
- The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (2009-present), a new conservative and Eurosceptic political grouping that was established following the 2009 European Elections. The Group became the third-largest in the European Parliament following the 2014 European Elections.
While affiliated to each of the above groups, the Conservative Delegation was formally termed the British Section (or similar) of the relevant Group, and internal documents will often refer to the Conservatives in the European Parliament in those terms.
The archive of the Conservative Party was established as a source for academic study at the Bodleian Library in 1978 by an agreement made between the University of Oxford and the Conservative Party, and brought together surviving historic papers of the Party previously held in various locations including Newcastle University Library and the former Conservative Central Office in Smith Square, London. Since 1996, ownership of the archive has been vested in the Conservative Party Archive Trust. The archive includes records from all three areas of Party organisation: parliamentary, voluntary and professional.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Conservative Party
An earlier version of this catalogue included published material arranged in the following series:-
- Publications of the European Conservative Group, 1971-1979 [CCO 508/8];
- Publications of the European Democratic Group, 1980-1989 [CCO 508/9];
- Publications of the European Democratic Group and Conservatives in the European Parliament, 1990-1994 [CCO 508/10];
- Leaflets and Other Publications, c.1971-1992 [CCO 508/11];
- Election Publications, 1971-1984 [CCO 508/12];
- Election Publications, c.1984-1989 [CCO 508/13];
- Election Publications, 1992-1994 [CCO 508/14].
These series were withdrawn in 2017, and the files within them transferred to the Conservative Party Archive: Printed and Published Material catalogues [shelfmarks beginning CPA PUB]. If you require assistance in tracing a former shelfmark, please contact the Conservative Party Archivist.
- 20th century
- 21st century
- Europe -- Politics and government
- European Economic Community
- European Parliament -- Elections, 1979
- European Union
- Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 20th century
- Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 21st century
- Labour Party (Great Britain) -- History -- 20th Century
- Politicians -- Great Britan -- Correspondence
- Conservative Party | Conservative Campaign Headquarters (Organisation)
- Conservative Party | Conservative Central Office (Organisation)
- Conservative Party | Conservatives in the European Parliament (Organisation)
- Conservative Party | parliamentary party (Organisation)
- Conservative Party (Organisation)
- European Parliament | European Conservative Group (Organisation)
- European Parliament | European Conservatives and Reformists Group | United Kingdom Delegation (Organisation)
- European Parliament | European Democratic Group (Organisation)
- European Parliament | Group of the European People's Party and European Democrats | British Section (Organisation)
- European Parliament | Group of the European People's Party | British Section (Organisation)
- Conservative Party Archive: Conservatives in the European Parliament
- Finding aid prepared by Simon Mackley. Incorporates original catalogue prepared by Emily Tarrant in 2004, and unpublished working catalogue prepared by Dawn Sellars in 2017.
- Language of description
- Script of description