The Conservative Party and the extreme right 1945–1975

By Mark Pitchford

The Conservative Party and the extreme right 1945–1975


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9673-0
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.99
  • Published Date: November 2014
  • BIC Category: Politics, Politics & government, Political parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Society & social sciences / Political parties


This book, newly available in paperback, reveals the Conservative Party's relationship with the extreme right between 1945 and 1975. For the first time, this book shows how the Conservative Party, realising that its well known pre-Second World War connections with the extreme right were now embarrassing, used its bureaucracy to implement a policy of investigating extreme right groups and taking action to minimise their chances of success. The book focuses on the Conservative Party's investigation of right-wing groups, and shows how its perception of their nature determined the party bureaucracy's response. The book draws a comparison between the Conservative Party machine's negative attitude towards the extreme right and its support for progressive groups. It concludes that the Conservative Party acted as a persistent block to the external extreme right in a number of ways, and that the Party bureaucracy persistently denied the extreme right within the party assistance access to funds and representation within party organisations. It reaches a climax with the formulation of a 'plan' threatening its own candidate if he failed to remove the extreme right from the Conservative Monday Club.


Pitchford has, for the first time, brought together details of the myriad groups that exisited on the Party's Right in the 30 years after the end of the Second World War.

Pitchford treats the reader to an investigation of organizations well beyond the usual suspects of the National Front and the Monday Club.

...the first detailed research on these matters in the Conservative Party's own archives and has produced an original and valuable account of the process by which Tory strategists sought to marginalise nationalist and other 'extremist' movements both by purging their own ranks and by incorporating a sanitised version of the nationalist agenda.


Mark Pitchford is a Visiting Research Fellow at King's College, London


1. The shock of opposition 1945-1951
2. Consensus Conservatism and extreme-right revival 1951-57
3. Macmillan and Home: 'Pink socialism' and 'true-blue' Conservatism
4. Edward Heath: a rightwards turn and the coalescence of the extreme right, 1964-70
5. 'Heathco' meets the extreme challenge
Conclusion: Keeping it right

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