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Title: Devolution and party change in the Scottish and Welsh Conservative Parties, 1997-2011
Author: Convery, Alan
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis compares the adaptation to devolution of the sub-state branches of the statewide UK Conservative Party in Scotland and Wales between 1997 and 2011. It uses a comparative analytical framework derived from the literature on party change, multi-level party politics and path dependency. Both parties had to change to accommodate the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and deal with the Conservative Party's weak electoral position outside England. Whilst the Scottish Conservatives concentrated on being a competent opposition party in a multi-party parliament, the Welsh Conservatives changed much more substantially in order to pursue the goal of being in office in Wales. Fundamentally, the Scottish Conservatives never rediscovered a central sense of purpose that might have served as a justification for the type of image and programmatic reform pursued in the UK and Welsh Conservative Parties. This thesis suggests that in studying sub-state parties it is important to look beyond considerations of a party's constitutional structures to examine its organisation on the ground. In particular, it cannot be assumed that the default desire of sub-state branch parties is for more autonomy from the centre. The Welsh Conservatives achieved much greater party change despite being less organisationally distinct that the Scottish Conservatives. Alongside different institutional environments, the ideas and motivations of elected party elites are central to an explanation of party change in these parties. All of these issues raise wider questions about what it means to be a statewide party in an increasingly decentralised state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available