The modernisation of the Labour Party, 1979–97

By Christopher Massey

The modernisation of the Labour Party, 1979–97


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4442-3
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: June 2020
  • BIC Category: British Politics, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Humanities / British & Irish history, Society & social sciences / Political parties
  • Series: Manchester University Press


Offering a vital recasting of the modernisation of the Labour Party, this book sheds new light on the Party's years in the wilderness between 1979 and 1997. Christopher Massey traces the major organisational changes across these eighteen years, arguing that Labour's organisational modernisation fundamentally altered its internal structures, policy-making pathways and constitution.

Beginning with the situation inherited by Labour's leadership in the early 1980s, Massey traces Neil Kinnock's quest for a stable majority on the party's ruling National Executive Committee between 1983 and 1987. From this position, the book examines four major organisational changes: the Policy Review (1987-92), One Member, One Vote (1992-94), Clause IV (1995-96), and Partnership in Power (1996-97).

Making extensive use of previously unseen archival materials, including the journals of the party's former General Secretary, Lord Tom Sawyer, and primary interviews with Labour leaders, General Secretaries, former Members of Parliament and Party staff, this book is essential reading for those wishing to understand the modernisation of the Labour Party.


1 Halting the advance of the left, 1979-83
2 The realignment of the left, 1983-87
3 The Policy Review, 1987-92
4 One Member, One Vote, 1992-94
5 Clause IV, 1994-95
6 Partnership in Power, 1995-97
Conclusion: The modernisation of the Labour Party, 1979-97


Christopher Massey is a Lecturer in Politics and History at Teesside University

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