The means by which the Conservative Party have determined their party leadership have produced some of the most dramatic political theatre of the last four decades. We have seen the Conservative Party's increasing inability, especially in the post-Thatcher era, to agree on how to select a leader and, once selected, whether that person should remain as leader. Here Timothy Heppell observes how the dominance of ideology has been immensely disadvantageous to post-Thatcherite Conservatism. Rather than empowering incumbents to project their leadership credentials outwards to the electorate and against their Labour counterpart, successive Conservative party leaders have been increasingly forced to look inwards, devoting crucial time to the complexities of intra-party management and the threats against them from rivals from within the parliamentary party.
Integrating debates on leadership election rules with the centrality of ideology and pragmatism in leadership selection, 'Choosing the Tory Leader' gives a comprehensive and timely examination of Conservative Party leadership elections since 1965.