PHILIP PEDLEY is a British Conservative activist who held a number of
positions in the Conservative Party at local, regional and national
level and was appointed Deputy Chairman of one of the largest quangos
* 1 Young Conservatives
Youth for Multilateral Disarmament – anti-
* 2 Student politics * 3 Parliamentary candidate * 4 National Conservative Party positions * 5 Wirral Council
Social Market Foundation
* 7 Housing for
* 7.1 Deputy chairman * 7.2 Chairman Audit Committee * 7.3 Right to buy * 7.4 Attacks by Labour
* 8 Chairman \'Conservatives Say Yes\' – Welsh Assembly * 9 References
Pedley joined his local branch of the Young Conservatives in 1974 in
response to miners strike of that year and the defeat of the
Conservative Government. He rose to become chairman of the North West
Area Young Conservatives. Working closely with his predecessor, Iain
Picton , and his successor Jeff Green, the North West Area became the
pre-eminent base of the moderates against right-wing elements from the
Monday Club and hardline libertarians from the Federation of
Conservative Students . Elected as National Vice-Chairman of the Young
Conservatives in 1981, under Iain Picton, Pedley was elected National
chairman in 1982, serving two terms until 1984. He maintained the
Tory Reform Group
Under Pedley, the National YCs were engaged in a number of high-profile activities.
YOUTH FOR MULTILATERAL DISARMAMENT – ANTI-
Under Picton's chairmanship, Pedley worked with the Ministry of
Defence to counter the activities of the Youth
WITHDRAWAL FROM BRITISH YOUTH COUNCIL
British Youth Council
"The National Officers are particularly concerned at the left-ward drift on political and social issues, such as disarmament, prostitution and unemployment. There is an inevitable question mark over the future of BYC following the departure of the extremely able chairman, John Collins (Scouts). It is hoped the new incumbent, Donny O'Rourke will be as pragmatic."
A year later, Pedley concluded the
British Youth Council
Following the Young Conservative decision, the Federation of Conservative Students followed suit. The FCS had long argued the BYC's funding should be cut. Previously, Picton and Pedley had defended the organisation and the funding had remained in place. After the decision to withdraw, Pedley resisted pressure from party chairman, John Gummer , who had been lobbied by various youth organisations to reverse the YC decision. Pedley withdrew his support for BYC funding and wrote to selected Conservative MPs explaining the Young Conservative decision and ensuring the subject of funding was taken up in the House of Commons.
EUROPEAN YOUTH FRAMEWORK (STANDING CONFERENCE ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE)
As part of the Helsinki agreement , the Young Conservatives were
involved in a parallel youth 'framework' of western youth
organisations and Soviet bloc youth groups. Pedley attended a
framework meeting in the Netherlands and was critical of attempts to
find a 'third way' between communism and free enterprise and
participated in a demonstration from the conference floor in support
FAR RIGHT INFILTRATION
In 1981, Pedley backed up Picton's warnings about right-wing activity in some Young Conservative branches and in particular the Greater London Young Conservatives (GLYC). In 1982, following a series of incidents involving far-right activity, Pedley set up a Committee of Enquiry, a sub-committee of the National Advisory Committee and chaired by Demitri Coryton Argyropulo, a Surrey county councillor and former national vice-chairman.
The committee's draft report was leaked at the 1983 Party Conference
and appeared on the front page of The Observer, competing with the
breaking news of
FINAL REPORT The final YC report on right wing activity was finalised by Argyropulo's sub committee in January 1984 and approved by the YC national advisory committee. The final report was never published and did not form the basis of the Panorama programme.
LIBEL ACTION – MAGGIE\'S MILITANT TENDENCY
Argyropulo was to have appeared on Panorama but was forced to pull
out. Pedley agreed to be interviewed on the Panorama programme along
with other Conservatives including the party chairman and some of the
MPs accused of having links to right wing groups. Neil Hamilton ,
Harvey Proctor and
LIBEL ACTIONS AGAINST THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH AND ALISTAIR MCALPINE Pedley came under sustained attack from supporters of Neil Hamilton in the aftermath of the 1986 court case. Alistair McAlpine and journalist friends placed critical pieces aimed at undermining Pedley's standing in the party. Pedley responded by issuing libel proceedings.
In 1993, Pedley was the target of smear campaign in the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Express in an attempt to stop him proposing a motion at the Conservative Party Conference. The Mandrake column in the Telegraph alleged he had personally written the YC Report and had libelled Hamilton. The claims were repeated by Alistair McAlpine in his Express column, which went further and called for Pedley to be banned. Pedley instituted libel proceedings against both the Sunday Telegraph and McAlpine. Both apologised.
A further libel against Pedley occurred in 1994, when supporters of Hamilton, resisting pressures for Hamilton to resign as minister, blamed Pedley supporters for exacting revenge on Hamilton. The Daily Telegraph ran as it main front page story a piece placing Pedley at the centre of the unfolding drama. The paper quoted a close Hamilton friend as saying, "This has turned into a factional fight with the left trying to force him out." Anger was directed at David Hunt MP (Minister for Open Government) who they regarded as instrumental in destroying Hamilton's chances of staying on. "Mr Hunt has clashed with Mr Hamilton before, most notably over the cabinet minister's patronage of Mr Phil Pedley." The article went on to imply that Hamilton had won his case of libel against Pedley. Pedley issued libel proceedings and the Telegraph issued an apology. "We may have given the false impression that Pedley lost that action. In fact Mr Hamilton discontinued it…. on terms debarring him from taking further proceedings against Mr Pedley… Mr Hamilton was ordered to pay Mr Pedley's costs. We apologise to Mr Pedley.
During Pedley's tenure as chairman, the Argentine military invaded the Falklands causing a crisis for the Thatcher government. Conservative Central Office canvassed each section of the party for its opinion on different scenarios ranging from negotiated surrender to airstrikes on the Argentine mainland. Pedley issued a press release stating;
"The invasion of the Falklands illustrates a classic case of the failure to maintain a deterrence. We announced the withdrawal of HMS Endurance and the Argentine Junta misread our intentions. In the wake of the appalling Argentine aggression, Conservative Central Office have canvassed all sectors of the voluntary Party for their opinion. In the YCs... our stance is clear. This aggression cannot stand... air strikes against the Argentine mainland no, but the Falkland islanders must be liberated, by force if necessary. We stand foursquare behind Margaret Thatcher's Government in this difficult time for Britain and of course, the Falkland islanders."
Pedley attempted to forge links with the moderate Progressive Federal Party in South Africa. He banned the South African Embassy from the holding a reception for conference delegates at the national YC Conference, stating:
"We have no wish to partake of canapes and chardonnay with a bunch of racist apologists and BOSS operatives. We don't support further sanctions but our stance on South Africa is simple... one man, one vote; a free press; a free judiciary and free enterprise is what the Young Conservatives support for South Africa, an inclusive system which does not exclude people on the basis of race."
NORTHERN IRELAND LINKS TO MODERATE UNIONISTS
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior , was attempting to introduce 'rolling devolution' to Northern Ireland despite opposition from the right-wing of the Conservative Party. The Monday Club believed Northern Ireland should be integrated into the United Kingdom with no 'regional' assembly. Prior published a white paper, 'Northern Ireland: A Framework for Devolution which proposed what was referred to as partial or rolling devolution. Harvey Proctor, as Secretary of the Monday Club Northern Ireland Policy Committee, attacked the plans for an Assembly and earned the praise of Ulster Unionist leadership, in particular Ulster Unionist Party Leader James Molyneux (later Lord Molyneaux) and the then Ulster Unionist Chief Whip and MP for East Londonderry, Willie Ross who were opposed to an Assembly.
Elements of the Ulster Unionists were supportive of Prior. In consultations with Prior and Nick Scott, Pedley discussed reactivating Young Ulster Unionists representation to the Young Conservative National Advisory Committee. The Young Ulster Unionists were led by moderates and Pedley instructed the national organiser of the Young Conservatives, Mark Worrall, to initiate secret talks with the former chairman of the Young Ulster Unionists, the moderate Edgar Graham . Worrall was a former President of Queen\'s University Belfast Students\' Union (QUBSU) and had extensive contacts with moderate Unionists. The intention was to reactivate lapsed Ulster Unionist representation on the Young Conservative national advisory committee as allowed for in the YC constitution, thereby providing a platform for moderate unionism and support for the Assembly within the Party, thereby countering Monday Club agitation. This initiative came to an end with the assassination of Edgar Graham by the IRA in December 1983. Pedley and a small delegation from the Young Conservative national advisory committee attended Graham's memorial service in Belfast and, a month later, Pedley opened the 24th National YC Conference with a tribute to Graham and a one-minute silence.
At Lancaster University, Pedley was an active member of the North
Federation of Conservative Students which was controlled by
the moderate faction. Pedley was part of the successful Conservative
attempt to break the Socialist Workers Party and International Marxist
Group control of
In 1983, Pedley was adopted as prospective parliamentary candidate
for the Halton constituency in Cheshire, a new constituency based on
Widnes and Runcorn. In the election, he came second to the sitting
Gordon Oakes . During the election campaign, Pedley was
supported by the Defence Minister,
General Election 1983 : Halton PARTY CANDIDATE VOTES % ±
Labour Gordon Oakes 24,752 46.4 N/A
Conservative P.M. Pedley 17,923 33.6 N/A
Social Democratic T.R. Tilling 10,649 20.0 N/A
MAJORITY 6,829 12.8 N/A
TURNOUT 53,324 73.3 N/A
Labour WIN (new seat)
NATIONAL CONSERVATIVE PARTY POSITIONS
Pedley served on a number of Party committees:
* Party's National Executive (NUEC) from 1979 to 1987 * Standing Advisory Committee on Parliamentary Candidates * Standing Advisory Committee on Party Policy (chaired by Sir Keith Joseph) * Conservative Party representative on the all-party Joint Committee Against Racism, co-chaired by Eric Pickles and Joan Lestor.
In 1986, Pedley was elected to the Wirral Council as the Conservative member for the Hoylake and West Kirby Ward. He was appointed environmental spokesman and served on the Education and Leisure Committees. Pedley supported the retention of grammar schools in the Wirral.
TORY REFORM GROUP
Pedley succeeded Sue Woodroof as chairman of the Tory Reform Group and concentrated on organisational matters.
SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION
As a committee member and then chairman of the
Tory Reform Group
CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADERSHIP 1997
On 2 May, John Major resigned as leader of the Conservatives,
following the party's crushing defeat and the manoeuvring for his
succession began. The Tory Reform Group's parliamentary supporters
contained three potential leadership candidates:
APPOINTMENT OF A NATIONAL DIRECTOR
Pedley attempted to bring to reorganise the TRG on a more professional footing and move the organisation away from youth politics by recruiting Clare Whelan as national director. Pedley entered into negotiations with Michael Welsh of the Conservative Mainstream Group to share resources and promote joint initiatives to secure the group's future.
HOUSING FOR WALES
CHAIRMAN AUDIT COMMITTEE
The Housing for
RIGHT TO BUY
Pedley was a supporter of the 'right to buy' concept of home ownership for disadvantaged families in Wales. Housing for Wales introduced a scheme to give tenants the ability to purchase a property at 70% of its cost, with the remaining 30% funded by an interest-free loan from the housing association.
ATTACKS BY LABOUR
The Labour opposition attacked the Conservative spokesmen appointed
to quangos in
"The Welsh Secretary appointed Ian Grist, a former Tory Minister, to head the South Glamorgan health authority. He was defeated by his constituents but given a job by the Tories. The secretary to Gwilym Jones, another Welsh Office Minister, was also appointed to the South Glamorgan health authority. Jeff Sainsbury, a former Tory 790 councillor, was put in charge of the Cardiff Bay development corporation. Phil Pedley, a defeated Tory candidate, was put in charge of the Board of Housing for Wales, succeeding another failed Tory candidate."
The Labour MP, David Hanson made repeated attacks on Pedley in the Commons:
"What does the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Evans) have in common with one of my constituents, Philip Pedley? The hon. Gentleman is a Conservative Member of Parliament; Philip Pedley is a failed Tory candidate. They have both been deputy chairman of Housing for Wales which services my constituents. I could go on. What does the chauffeur to the Secretary of State for Employment in the general election have in common with many of these people? He is on a board and he is a Tory party member. What do the 14 Conservative Members on trusts in Wales have in common with each other, apart from the fact that they are on trusts? They are Conservative party members.
CHAIRMAN \'CONSERVATIVES SAY YES\' – WELSH ASSEMBLY
As a former Welsh constituency officer (chairman of Delyn
Conservative Association and treasurer of the North
"For the Conservatives in Wales, an Assembly could prove a godsend. We play practically no part in the political life of Wales. Can this be right for a Party which represents between a fifth and a third of welsh voters. The elections to the Assembly involve a degree of proportional representation which will guarantee the Conservatives a strong voice..."
Pedley dismissed claims devolution would cause the break-up of the
Union. The Western Mail reported, "Mr Pedley ridiculed the idea Plaid
Cymru could gain power through the Assembly and break up the UK."
Pedley said that he understood the fear, "but is it a real threat? I
cannot see any situation where nationalists are going to sweep to a
majority. Plaid gets less votes than the Conservatives." He was backed
on this point by Sir Wyn Roberts who agreed devolution would not break
up the UK. Further support came from
Alan Clark and
At a press conference held at the Yes for
"If we don't get it right, I think people like me will be stuffed and mounted in a museum in Cardiff as 'Welsh Conservative now extinct.'"
Pedley welcomed Colwyn Philipps, 3rd Viscount St Davids as the patron of the Welsh Conservatives Say Yes campaign, stating,
"The Viscount's family motto says it all... Ducit Amor Patriae – Patriotism is my motive. It is patriotism that motivates us: a belief that the union can be strengthened, not weakened by devolution."
In the House of Commons, the Delyn MP, David Hanson, referring to
Pedley's role in the Yes campaign and his belief an elected Assembly
should replace the quango said, "One of my constituents, Mr. Philip
Pedley of Cilcain, is an active Conservative who has fought three
general elections for his party. He was appointed without one vote in
In 1998, Pedley backed the winning candidate Rod Richards in the postal ballot for the leadership for Welsh Conservatives.
* ^ Times Guide to House of Commons 1983 ISBN 9780723002574 * ^ Paul Mercer, Directory of British Political Organisations ISBN 1-86067-039-3 * ^ "Government Dirty Tricks", Sanity, August–September 1981, No 4 * ^ National Young Conservative Report 1981-82 * ^ National Young Conservative Report 1982-83 * ^ Minutes of YC National Advisory Committee, January 1984 * ^ FCS Minutes of No 10 Minutes * ^ "British Youth Council", Hansard, June 1984 * ^ European Youth and Student Dialogue on Peace and Disarmament" held in Amersfoort from 14 to 17 October 1982 * ^ Nicholas Comfort, "Young Tories expel Front Infiltrators", Daily Telegraph, 25 May 1981 * ^ "1983: Parkinson quits over lovechild scandal", BBC News, 14 October 1983 * ^ The Times, 28 October 1986 * ^ "Fighting on alone", The Guardian, 22 October 1986 * ^ High Court written judgement, 14 July 1987
* ^ Sunday Express, 19 September 1993 -"Mr Philip Pedley, An Apology", Sunday Telegraph, 12 December 1993 -Court statemen:t Philip Pedley v The Sunday Telegraph 1993-P-No.2384 * ^ "Demands for Hamilton to quit increase", Daily Telegraph, 24 October 1994 * ^ Daily Telegraph, 8 November 1994 * ^ National YC press release: Falklands, April 1982 * ^ National YC Report, 1982–83 * ^ "Northern Ireland: A Framework for Devolution, 1982". HMSO. Retrieved 7 August 2013. * ^ National YC Report, 1983–84 * ^ Times Guide to the House of Commons 1983 * ^ "Tarzan Swings In!", Runcorn World, 3 June 1983 * ^ Runcorn Weekly News, 20 May 1983. * ^ Hoylake News, May 1986
Tory Reform Group
* ^ Andy Beckett, "How clean was my valley?: For more than five
years, a seemingly inexhaustible stream of scandal has been seeping
from the quangos of Wales", The Independent, 28 August 1994
-Chris Blackhurst, "Redwood accused in quango scandal: MPs condemn
rural board\'s secret rules", The Independent, 25 January 1994 * ^
"Right to Buy scheme for Welsh Housing Association Tenants", Local
Government Chronicle, 4 July 1995
* ^ "Government Running Costs", Hansard, HC Deb, 18 January 2000,
vol 342 cc750-800
* ^ "Local Government Scotland and Wales", Hansard HC Deb, 22
November 1993, vol 233 cc192-300
* ^ "Seize the referendum day says Conservative Officer", Western
Mail, 9 September 1997
* ^ "Government of
* * * *