- 年報政治学 (ISSN:05494192)
- vol.62, no.2, pp.2_147-2_177, 2011 (Released:2016-02-24)
Party cohesion is a distinctive feature of British politics. This article explores the extent to which the party leadership can achieve cohesion within the Conservative party and the Labour party. Three ways can be recognized to achieve party cohesion: agreement of MPs' preferences, socialization of MPs, and party discipline. Party leadership can intervene in these processes in parliament and constituency organisations. In parliament the leadership exploits appointments and promotions of MPs for party discipline, while the whip's office mobilizes various resources to socialize and discipline MPs. Nonetheless, the party leadership does not possess the critical power resources to control its own MPs. Constituency organisations are crucially important, for they are primarily responsible for candidate selection, and re-selection and de-selection of MPs. The leadership of both the Conservative party and the Labour party hardly intervened in these processes officially, although the Labour party leadership was more inclined to do so. However, severe factional disputes arose within the Conservative party from the late 1980s and within the Labour party from the 1970s. The leadership of both parties gradually strengthened their intervention in the candidate-selection processes and their constituency organisations after facing such internal disputes, although it has not prevented MPs from rebelling against the leadership.