The Conservative and Unionist Party (more commonly known as the Conservative Party) is a political party in the United Kingdom. Founded in its present form during the early 19th century, it has since been the principal centre-right party in the UK.
The Conservative Party is descended from the old Tory Party, founded in 1678, and is still often referred to as theTory Party and its politicians, members and supporters as Tories. It added the byname Unionist in the early 20th century, following the Conservatives' alliance with that part of the Liberal Party, known as the Liberal Unionists, who opposed their party's support for Irish Home Rule.
The Conservative Party was in government for two-thirds of the 20th century. Since 2010, the party is the largestparty in the House of Commons, albeit without a majority; the current party leader is Prime Minister David Cameron who governs in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. As of 2009, it has more councillors in local government, British members of the European Parliament and members of the London Assembly than any other party.
[pic]Organisation and membership
Share of the votereceived by Conservatives (blue), Whigs/Liberals/Liberal Democrats (orange), Labour (red) and others (grey) in general elections since 1832.
Membership declined through the 20th century, and, despite an initial boost shortly after Cameron's election as leader in December 2005, later resumed its fall in 2006 to a lower level than when he was elected. In 2006 the Conservative Party had about290,000 members according to The Daily Telegraph.
Internationally the Conservative Party is member of the International Democratic Union, and in Europe it is a member of the European Democrat Union.
Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and founder of the Conservative
Origins in the Whig Party
The Conservative Party traces its origins to a faction, rooted inthe 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger (Prime Minister of Great Britain 1783-1801 and 1804–1806). Originally known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites", after Pitt's death the term "Tory" came into use. This was an allusion to the Tories, a political grouping that had existed from 1678, but which had no organisational continuity with thePittite party. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was commonly used for the newer party.
Not all members of the party were content with the "Tory" name. George Canning first used the term 'Conservative' in the 1820s and it was suggested as a title for the party by John Wilson Croker in the 1830s. It was later officially adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledgedas the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto.
Conservatives and Unionists
Sir Winston Churchill, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Lord Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through theirown expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886 the party formed an alliance with Lord Hartington (later the 8th Duke of Devonshire) and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of freetrade. In 1912 the party formally merged with the Liberal Unionists and was officially known as the Unionist party until 1925.
The Conservatives served with the Liberals in an all-party coalition government during World War I, and the coalition continued under Liberal PM David Lloyd George (with half of the Liberals) until 1922. Then Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin led the breakup of the...