Conservative Party Archive: Official Group
Comprises the minutes and papers of the Conservative Official Group, 1967-1974.
Papers attached to minutes were not always considered at that particular meeting. Minutes should, therefore, be studied in conjunction with papers previously circulated.
- Creation: 1967-1974, n.d.
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
General access conditions apply to this material.
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, Conservative Party Archive [followed by shelfmark, e.g. OG 1].
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Collection ID (for staff)
Minutes and papers of the Conservative Official Group, 1967-1974.
Biographical / Historical
The Conservative Official Group has existed under several names, such as the Research Study Group (1953-55) and the Policy Study Group (1957-59), and was also known as the Chairman's Committee (1961-63) while headed by Iain Macleod as Party Chairman. It is a gathering of MPs and professionals from the Research Department and Central Office, mainly brought together for the purposes of assembling and drafting a manifesto but advising on other matters too. Its secretary usually comes from the Research Department.
It was constituted for the first time as the Research Study Group in 1953 to prepare for the 1955 General Election, and again from 1957 as the Policy Study Group in preparation for the 1959 General Election, chaired both times by Iain Macleod. As Party Chairman in November 1961 he revived it again: 'The Policy Study Group which does the work of the preparation of the manifesto and sometimes concerns itself with other policy matters has previously been set up about two years after the beginning of a new Parliament. The timing therefore would seem to be right for it to begin to function once more. On both previous occasions I have been Chairman of the Group, and the Prime Minister wishes me to undertake this task again….I propose this time to rename the Policy Study Group the Chairman's Committee.' [CRD 2/52/7: Letter from Iain Macleod, 02/11/1961].
On previous occasions the Committee had been composed almost entirely of ministers; in 1961 it was decided to expand the group to include more MPs, and also people outside Parliament, including Conservative Central Office and the Conservative Research Department. In November 1967 it was re-established as the Official Group, to prepare for the 1970 General Election. This time it remained constituted until August 1974.
The Conservative Party Archive (CPA) 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 and financial responsibility for the CPA has been vested in the Conservative Party Archive Trust. The CPA preserves the records of all three areas of Party organisation: parliamentary, voluntary and professional. It is recognised by the Conservative Party as the official repository for its historic records and those of affiliated organisations, and receives new material on a regular basis.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Conservative Party.
- Conservative Party Archive: Official Group
- Finding aid prepared by Emily Tarrant
- Language of description
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