Selsdon Group

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The Selsdon Group is a British free-market economics lobby group, closely associated with the Conservative Party. It was created in 1973 by Nicholas Ridley to promote free-market economic policies, following an intensive discussion to generate ideas at the Selsdon Park Hotel in Selsdon, with Edward Heath and his shadow cabinet in 1970. The aims were criticised by the Labour Party Prime Minister at the time, Harold Wilson, who coined the phrase Selsdon Man as a consequence. Wilson went on to lose the general election of 1970 to Edward Heath. Its President is the Rt. Hon. John Redwood, MP.

In January 1970, Sir Edward Heath held a brainstorming session of the shadow cabinet at The Selsdon Park Hotel near Croydon, Surrey. The aim of the meeting was to formulate policies for the 1970 General Election manifesto.The result was a radical free market agenda, condemned by the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, as the work of "Selsdon Man".

Wilson lost the subsequent General Election. After a short period, however, Heath abandoned the 1970 manifesto in the face of bitter opposition from the trade unions. This historic u-turn was the catalyst for the formation of the Selsdon Group in 1973. The late Nicholas Ridley and others created the new group to uphold and promote the free market policies that had won the Conservative Party the 1970 General Election.

The "Selsdon Declaration", to which all members must subscribe, was adopted at the Selsdon Group's first meeting at the Selsdon Park Hotel in September 1973. The group was attacked by many figures within the Conservative Party establishment. Its ideals, however, proved triumphant and many of its policies were implemented by the governments led by Margaret Thatcher and John Major.


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