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: £85.00
  • Published Date: June 2020
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, Humanities / British & Irish history, Society & social sciences / Political parties, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, British Politics, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century
  • Series: Manchester University Press


This monograph recasts the modernisation of the Labour Party and sheds new light on Labour's years in the wilderness between 1979 and 1997. The monograph uniquely traces the party's major organisational changes across its eighteen years of opposition. Labour's organisational modernisation in this period fundamentally altered the party's internal structures, policy-making pathways and constitution. The study begins with an investigation into the scene inherited by Labour's leadership in the early 1980s and examines Neil Kinnock's quest for a stable majority on the party's ruling National Executive Committee between 1983 and 1987. From this position the monograph surveys the major organisational changes of the Labour Party in their period of opposition: the Policy Review (1987-92), One Member, One Vote (1992-94), Clause IV (1995-96) and Partnership in Power (1996-97). Through a re-examination of Labour's modernisation, in the light of new source material and extensive primary interviews, this research significantly contributes to the understanding of the rise of New Labour.


'Among the many valuable contributions from The Modernisation of the Labour Party are moments where a political actor's motivations are glimpsed-for example, through Sawyer's journals-and we can begin to understand how actors reached judgements that affected Labour's political trajectory.'
Twentieth Century British History


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

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