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Conservative Party Archive: Leader's Consultative Committee


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  1. Agendas, minutes and papers, 1945-1979, n.d.
  2. Agendas, minutes and papers of the sub-committees, 1950-1979
  3. General correspondence, 1945-1979
  4. Miscellaneous, 1968-1970

The Conservative Party Archive (CPA) holds only the files of this committee while the Party is in opposition.


  • Creation: 1945-1979, n.d.


61 shelfmarks

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

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

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

LCC 1-4

Collection ID (for staff)



Records of the Conservative Leader's Consultative Committee, 1945-1979, n.d., including agendas, minutes, papers and correspondence.

Biographical / Historical

The Leader's Consultative Committee, 'LCC', more commonly known as the Shadow Cabinet, is the most central of policy organs and the supreme decision-making body of the Party. Its membership is always by invitation from the Leader, and its Secretary is usually the Director of the Conservative Research Department when the Party is in opposition [Source: Ramsden, John. The Making of Conservative Policy (Longman, 1980) p 4.].

Although a Shadow Cabinet, in its various guises, had existed in some form since at least 1906, this series consists exclusively of the minutes and papers of the Shadow Cabinets since 1945. The Shadow Cabinet under Churchill was yet to become as formalised as it later did from 1964 when members were appointed to shadow specific Departmental portfolios. Macmillan, writing to Churchill in 1948, complained that it, 'has neither Secretary, agenda, papers circulated, or minutes' [Source: shelfmark: CCO 20/1/3]. However, although there were no formal minutes until 1964, from 1945 brief agendas and notes of conclusions reached at meetings were circulated by the Chief Whip, and the Shadow Cabinet met regularly, usually every fortnight. It was not until 1964 that the Shadow Cabinet became much more structured, and the records reflect this change with the minutes after 1964 being a much more informative source, often recording individuals’ contributions during discussions.

Information on Conservative Shadow Cabinets prior to 1945 is patchy, and most commonly found within private papers. Baldwin is often attributed with formalising the Shadow Cabinet in 1924, which was then known variously as the 'Leader's Conference', 'Conservative Consultative Committee' or the 'Business Committee' although it continued to meet irregularly at this time, with specific individuals being summoned as required [Source: Stuart Ball, Portrait of a Party [(OUP, 2013), p.446].

Between March 1934-July 1935 another committee, the 'CCC' was in existence - known alternatively as the 'Cabinet Conservative Committee' or the 'Conservative Consultative Committee'. This was set up by Neville Chamberlain as Chancellor of the Exchequer and chaired by Stanley Baldwin. The purpose of the Committee was to provide and re-invigorate the National Government, then still led by Ramsay MacDonald, with policy ideas to take forward as Government policy for the 1935 General Election. It met in the offices of the Conservative Research Department, which undertook much of the research required for its proceedings. The CCC comprised all the Conservative members of the Cabinet, as well as a small number of Junior Ministers and Peers who subsequently assumed Cabinet responsibilities following Baldwin's succession as Prime Minister in June 1935. As such, most if not all Departmental portfolios were represented in the CCC. The resemblance of the CCC to a Shadow Cabinet is striking and this may have been what Chamberlain was striving to create in the peculiar circumstances of the National Government, albeit that the Conservatives were in Government but not leading it, and Chamberlain was not Leader of the Party but was effectively in control of Party policy-making.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Conservative Party.

Related Materials

The papers of the Leader's Consultative Committee represent part of the parliamentary part, 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 WHIP: The Whip's Office
  3. CPA SUMC: Scottish Unionist Members' Committee
  4. CPA LUMC: London Unionist Members' Committee

For records of the Cabinet Conservative Committee, 'CCC', see the papers of the Conservative Research Department, series shelfmark: CRD 1/64.

Conservative Party Archive: Leader's Consultative Committee
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