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Conservative Party Archive: Whip's Office


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The archive contains only a limited amount of Whips' Office papers, mainly memoranda written on a wide range of contemporary political issues. There is very little held relating to the disciplining of MPs or the use of the ultimate sanction – withdrawal of the Party whip.

The subjects covered include:- (1930s) electoral reform, General Elections, Party political broadcasts, old age pensions; (1940s) Sir Joseph Ball's proposals for Party re-organisation, food and agriculture, structure of the National Union, trade union vote, Party political broadcasts, National Liberal reflections, civilian clothing, BBC Charter, women and the war effort; (1970s) Party leadership.


  • Creation: 1923-1951


12 shelfmarks

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this material requires written permission from The Chief Whip.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, Conservative Party Archive [followed by shelfmark, e.g. WHIP 1/2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

Whip 1-2

Collection ID (for staff)

CPA Whip 1-2


Papers of the Conservative Whip's Office, 1923-1951.

Biographical / Historical

The activities of the parliamentary party and its committees in the House of Commons are managed by the Chief Whip, assisted by a number of Junior Whips appointed by the leader of the Party (although by tradition nobody is appointed a Whip without the agreement of the other Whips). The Chief Whip attends the Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet and reports on the state of opinion of back-bench Members, and is also responsible for mobilising the voting strength of Conservative MPs in the House of Commons. The Whips are each given responsibility for certain subjects and attend the relevant Parliamentary committee, working through this to try and persuade Members to support the official Party view on an issue. The Whips are also each given responsibility for a regional area. Prior to the creation of the post of Party Chairman in 1911, the Chief Whip was also responsible for Conservative Central Office.

Custodial History

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

Conservative Party Archive

Related Materials

The papers of the Whip's Office represent part of the parliamentary party, the longest-established element of the Conservative Party with a history dating back to the 17th century. The parliamentary party is also represented in the CPA through the records of the following bodies:

  1. CPA 1922: 1922 Committee
  2. CPA LCC: Leader's Consultative Committee (or Shadow Cabinet)
  3. CPA LUMC: London Unionist Members' Committee
  4. CPA SUMC: Scottish Unionist Members' Committee
Whip's Office
Finding aid prepared by Emily Tarrant
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom