The National Party of England is a centre-right political party in England. It currently forms the English government.The Party was founded in 1930 with the merger of the Conservative Party with Liberal, Unity and Radical Party MPs in order to form a united, non-socialist opposition to the Social Democratic Party. The National Party has formed the government on several occasions, 1932-1945, 1951-1969, 1977-1982 and 1990-2008.
Lynton Government 1932-1945
The National Party won a landslide victory at the 1932 election, winning over 75% of all seats in Parliament, and Richard Lynton became Prime Minister. The National government followed orthodox economic, instituting cuts in public expenditure.
The 1935 election saw the National Party winning another victory not short of their 1932 landslide.
At the 1938 election the government's majority was significantly reduced, partially due to the recession of 1938, and partially due to the revitalised Social Democrats led by
By 1945 the National Party was associated with the depression of the 1930s and the wartime hardships of the 1940s. The Social Democrats won the 1945 election in a landslide.
Few in the National party had expected defeat in 1945, let alone Richard Lynton.
"The English Miracle" 1951-1969
Armstrong led the National Party to a narrow election victory in 1951.
The period from 1951 onwards saw a significant increase in economic growth, and very low unemployment. The favourable economic conditions resulted in the National Party, first under Charles Armstrong and then Anthony Edwards winning progressively increased majorities at the 1954, 1957, 1960 and 1963 elections.
In 1960 Armstrong stood down and Chancellor Anthony Edwards was elected unopposed as his successor. Edwards was widely considered the architect of England's economic prosperity, and led the National Party to another electoral victory only 8 weeks after assuming office.
The 1966 election saw the National Party lose seats and votes for the first time in 21 years, largely as a response to the reformed SDP led by Arthur Brown.
In May 1968 the increasingly unpopular Edwards retired from office, being suceeded by John Cattermole. Cattermole proved unable to restore the government's stability or its popularity, despite the economy remaining strong.
Arthur Brown led the Social Democrats to victory in 1969. John Cattermole initially sought to remain leader of the National Party in opposition, but was ousted in the autumn by James Beauchamp. Beauchamp sought ot move the party back towards the centre ground, but in doing so regularly alienated those on both the right and centre-right of the party.
Harding Government 1977-1982
The 1977 election resulted in the biggest National Party landslide since 1935. Harding became Prime Minister during a period of extreme economic difficulty, with low economic growth and high inflation creating the economic phenomena of stagflation. During the late 1970s unemployment reached its highest rate since the 1930s.
Harding resigned the day after the election, taking full responsibility for the defeat of the government. He also announced he would not contest the leadership, nor would he accept appointment to the shadow cabinet.
During this period a growing economically liberal wing to the party emerged, led first by John Cattermole and later by Megan Taylor.
Andrew Williams defeated Rodney Bowles to become party leader.
Taylor Era 1988-2001
Megan Taylor became leader of the National Party on January 26th 1988.
Taylor led the National Party to an historic victory in the 1990 general election, wining 425 seats and over 50% of the popular vote. In government the National Party embarked a radical reform programme of privatisation and tax cuts.
Palmer and Silverman 2001-2008
The National Party won the 2014 general election, winning 331 out of 601 seats in parliament.
The National Party currently describes itself as a liberal conservative party, supporting economic liberalism, fiscal conservatism and adopts a more centrist social policy.
Since the late 1980s the National Party has strongly supported economic liberalism. The Taylor government in the 1990s embarked on a radical programme to privatise many previously state owned industries, reduce taxation and shrink the role of the state in providing public services.
The party is strongly pro-european.
The party has been divided over the legacy of, and its attitude to, Megan Taylor. Taylor was by far the National Party's most electorally successful leader, but her policies were contraversial to many. Some on the more centrist wing of the party, such as Richard Palmer, have sought to distance the party from Taylor and move back towards the centre-right of the political spectrum, others such as Stacy Silverman have sought to defend Taylor's legacy and make the Nationals a more conservative oriented party.
Charles Armstrong 1947-1960
Anthony Edwards 1960-1968
John Cattermole 1968-1969
James Beauchamp 1969-1972
1972-1982 Eric Harding
1985-1988 Rodney Bowles
Megan Taylor 1988-2001
Richard Palmer 2001-2006
Stacey Silverman 2006-2008
Felix Trevelyan 2008-2013
Stacy Silverman 2013 -
Anthony Edwards 1948-1960
Stacy Silverman 2003-2006
|1948||254||+87||SDP Victory||Charles Armstrong|
|1951||279||+25||National Victory||Charles Armstrong|
|1954||293||+14||National Victory||Charles Armstrong|
|1957||300||+7||National Victory||Charles Armstrong|
|1960||318||+18||National Victory||Anthony Edwards|
|1963||336||+18||National Victory||Anthony Edwards|
|1966||304||-32||National Victory||Anthony Edwards|
|1969||257||-47||SDP Victory||John Cattermole|
|1972||241||-16||SDP Victory||James Beauchamp|
|1975||274||+33||SDP Victory||Eric Harding|
|1977||349||+75||National Victory||Eric Harding|
|1980||296||-53||National Victory||Eric Harding|
|1982||249||-47||SDP Victory||Eric Harding|
|1987||263||+16||SDP VIctory||Rodney Bowles|
|1990||425||+182||50.6||National Victory||Megan Taylor|
|1993||378||-47||National Victory||Megan Taylor|
|1996||355||-23||National Victory||Megan Taylor|
|1999||321||-34||National Victory||Megan Taylor|
|2002||326||+5||National Victory||Richard Palmer|
|2005||312||-14||National Victory||Richard Palmer|
|2008||SDP Victory||Felix Trevelyan|
|2011||SDP Victory||Felix Trevelyan|
|2014||331||National Victory||Stacy Silverman|
|2017||361||+30||National Victory||Stacy Silverman|