Tory Reform Group

Tory Reform Group

The Tory Reform Group (TRG) is a group within the United Kingdom's Conservative Party, that uphold the One Nation Tory vision.The Tory Reform Group (TRG) was formally established in June 1975 from the merger of four like-minded groups: PEST (Pressure for Economic and Social Toryism), two separate London dining clubs named the Macleod Group and Social Tory Action Group, and a group in Manchester who had already been going by the name the TRG.


The TRG is commonly seen as being pro-Europe.

Most pro-Europe Conservative politicians of the last thirty years have at one time or another been associated with the Tory Reform Group, while no TRG member of note has struck a view that is more eurosceptic than the official Conservative Party position. The TRG is a constituent organisation of Conservative Mainstream alongside the Conservative Group for Europe and Parliamentary Mainstream, and all are run from shared offices in Westminster. TRG members formed the core of the short lived Pro-Euro Conservative Party, which disbanded in favour of the Liberal Democrats just short of its third birthday.


In recent years, the Tory Reform Group has lost influence among core Conservative Party activists. There are many reasons for this decline:

* The number of prominent members of the group in positions of influence in the party has gradually declined. For example the most prominent member of the Shadow Cabinet who was also a member of the TRG, Damian Green, was forced from the Shadow Cabinet in 2004.

* The rebirth of economic liberalism has meant that many Conservative members no longer saw the need for a centrist position on economics.

* The growing importance of Europe as an issue in British politics also meant that the Conservative Party - as it has broadly eurosceptic views - has attracted an ever greater number of new eurosceptic members.

* New Labour's moderation and the revival of the Liberal Democrats has attracted the sort of young centrist politicians to these parties who could otherwise have been 'One Nation' Tories.

* The oldest known branch, which predated the National TRG, was founded in the University of Oxford in 1962, when they split from the Oxford University Conservative Association. However, due to declining interest, as well as OUCA's modernisation, they voted to disband and merge back into OUCA in the Michaelmas Term 2007.


*President: Ken Clarke
*Chairman: Giles Marshall
*Patrons: [ [ TRG People] - From the Official site] John Bercow, David Curry, Stephen Dorrell, Charles Hendry, Michael Heseltine, Douglas Hurd, Michael Howard, Steve Norris, Chris Patten, Malcolm Rifkind, Tim Sainsbury, Ian Taylor, George Young, Lord Hunt of Wirral, Lord Kingsland, Peter Walker, Baroness Verma.
*Vice-Presidents: [ [ TRG People] - From the Official site] Alistair Burt, Damian Green, Jonathan Evans, Caroline Jackson.

Defections from the Conservative Party

Because of the decline of influence within the Conservative Party, many younger members of the TRG have recently defected to parties to the left of the Conservatives. The following TRG members subsequently left the Conservative Party to other parties:

*Liberal Democrats: Emma Nicholson, Susan Bell,"Recent Liberal recruits include ex-Conservative MP Anna McCurley, ex-Tory Reform Group leader Arthur Bell and his wife Susan Bell" from [ North East Scotland by-election] in [ Scottish Politics - The almanac of Scottish elections and politics] ] Arthur Bell, Hugh Dykes, John Lee, Paul Howell, Bill Newton Dunn, Peter Price, Keith Raffan, Anna McCurley

*Labour Party: Shaun Woodward, Alan Howarth, Peter Temple-Morris, Judith Symes [Reformer, August 2003, page 25]

*Pro-Euro Conservative Party: Sir Anthony Meyer, John Stevens, Brendan Donnelly, Ian Gilmour


External links

* [ Tory Reform Group] official site
* [ Oxford University Tory Reform Group] student branch at Oxford University
* ['trg') Catalogue] of the Tory Reform Group papers at [ LSE Archives]

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