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Time periods: 1976-1988
Although Jo Grimond had hoped for a realignment of the left, it was David Steel who tried hardest to achieve it, first through the LibLab Pact and then through the LiberalSDP Alliance, which came close to breaking the mould in the 1983 election. The Alliance was brought down in the end by leadership tensions and the strains of negotiating merger between the two parties.

History (17)
Biographies (8)
Journals (2)
Journal articles (33)
Events (9)
Archives: libraries (6)
Archives: individuals (3)
PhD theses (9)
Research (2)

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History
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A concise history of the Liberal Party, SDP and Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats are the successors to two important reformist traditions in British politics - those of liberalism and of social democracy, which became separated from each other in the early p...

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National Sound Archive

The National Sound Archive at the British Library holds various recordings of key Liberal figures. ...

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Realignment of the left

The end of Jo Grimond's leadership in 1967 heralded a bleak period for the Liberal Party. His successor, Jeremy Thorpe, was never assured of the complete confidence of his parliamentary colleagu...

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The Liberals and Ireland since 1801

Underneath the surface of this [Irish question], and wrapped up in it, are nearly all the controversies of principle which will agitate the political atmosphere of our time. It is a microcosm of the ...

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Joint Statement on the Lib-Lab Pact: Steel and Callaghan

Joint statement issued by Prime Minister Callaghan and David Steel on the aims of the Lib-Lab pact issued 23rd March 1977. ...

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Greaves and Lishman: 'The Theory and Practice of Community Politics'

The classic exposition of the Liberal approach to community politics; by Bernard Greaves and Gordon Lishman. ...

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Limehouse Declaration

Issued by Shirley Williams, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Roy Jenkins to the Press Association on 25th January 1981 ...

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Local history: Epsom & Ewell Social Democrats

David Gourley on joining the SDP in 1981 and working with the Liberals through the Alliance and merger. ...

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Formation of the SDP

Launching the new Social Democratic Party (SDP) on the 26th March 1981, the former Labour Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins announced that the aim of the new party was to get away from the politics of outd...

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David Steel: forming the Alliance, Llandudno, 1981

David Steel on the Liberal-SDP Alliance; Liberal Assembly, Llandudno, 18 September 1981 ...

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Alliance defence policy: Eastbourne and after

In the autumn of 1986, the Alliance faced one of its biggest challenges when the Liberals passed a motion at their annual assembly, rejecting the leadership's defence policy. ...

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Simon Hughes: Defence debate at Eastbourne, 1986

Simon Hughes in the debate on the Alliance defence commission report; Liberal Assembly, Eastbourne, 23 September 1986 ...

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Michael Meadowcroft on the merger negotiations

It is difficult to realise that it is now sixteen years since the trauma and angst of the merger negotiations. As far as factual accuracy is concerned the book by Tony Greaves and Rachael Pitchford i...

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Richard Holme on the merger negotiations

My recollections of the process which led to the merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP are hazy since I am not a diary-keeper. Nor can I give anything but an outsider's view of the formal merg...

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The Liberal - SDP merger

The poor performance of the Liberal-SDP Alliance at the June 1987 election prompted the Liberal leader, David Steel to call for the unity of both wings, after only 22 seats were secured by both sides...

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'Dead Parrot' document

The 'Dead Parrot' became the nickname of the policy document due to be issued, alongside the new party's constitution, at the successful culmination of merger negotiations between the ...

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Great Liberals

John Stuart Mill chosen as greatest British Liberal ...

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Biographies
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Biography of MP; Baron Steel of Aikwood David Steel


Steel, David (Lord Steel)

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Biography of Baron Dahrendorf Ralf Gustav Dahrendorf


Dahrendorf, Ralf (Lord Dahrendorf)

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Biography of Bernard Greaves


Greaves, Bernard

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Biography of MP Michael Meadowcroft


Meadowcroft, Michael

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Biography of MP; Baron Maclennan of Rogart Robert Maclennan


Maclennan, Robert (Lord Maclennan)

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Biography of MP; Baron Rodgers of Quarry Bank Bill Rodgers


Rodgers, Bill (Lord Rodgers)

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Biography of MP; Baroness Williams of Crosby Shirley Williams


Williams, Shirley (Lady Williams)

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Biography of Sir MP Clement Freud


Freud, Sir Clement

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Journal
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Journal of Liberal History 39 - Special issue: A short history of political virginity (history of the SDP)

39-Summer_2003.jpg

Summer, 2003

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Journal of Liberal Democrat History 18 - Special issue: The Legacy of the Alliance and Merger

18-Spring_1998.jpg

Spring, 1998

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Journal articles
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Third Party Politics Since 1945

(from journal ' Liberal Democrat History Group Newsletter 2 ')


Review of John Stevenson, Third Party Politics Since 1945: Liberals, Alliance and Liberal Democrats

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SDP:The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party.

(from journal ' Liberal Democrat History Group Newsletter 13 ')


Review of Ivor Crewe and Anthony King: SDP:The Birth, Life and Death of the Social Democratic Party.

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Jo Grimond 1913-1993

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 80 ')


David Steel's commemoration lecture, given at Firth Kirk, Finstown, Orkney, 18 May 2013.

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Working with others - the Lib-Lab Pact

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 60 ')


Report of meeting of 14 July 2008, with David Steel, Tom McNally and Michael Steed.

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Sheelagh Murnaghan and the Ulster Liberal Party

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 71 ')


The life and political career of the only Liberal to win a seat in the Northern Ireland parliament.

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Can the Grand Old Duke of York march back up again?

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 83 - Special issue: The first 25 years of the Liberal Democrats ')


The importance of local government to the Liberal Democrats.

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The Launch of the SDP

(from journal ' Liberal Democrat History Group Newsletter 2 ')


Review of The Launch of the SDP 1979-1981 - Report of witness seminar in Contemporary Record, Vol 7, autumn 1993, No. 2

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'Why I am a Liberal'

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 60 ')


The dynastic Liberalism of Michael and all the Foots.

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Balancing family and politics

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 62 - Special issue: Women and Liberalism ')


Interview with Shirley Williams.

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Liberals and local government in London since the 1970s

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 58 ')


Report of meeting of 4 February 2008, with Cllr Sir David Williams and Mike Tuffrey GLA.

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Interview: Cyril Smith

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 64 ')


An interview with Sir Cyril Smith MBE, the larger-than-life former MP for Rochdale and Chief Whip.

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Fourth Among Equals

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal Democrat History 28 ')


Review of Bill Rodgers: Fourth Among Equals.

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Salad Days - merger twenty years on

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 59 ')


Report of meeting of 7 March 2008, with Lord Goodhart, Lord Clement-Jones and Dr David Dutton.

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Helen Suzman: An Appreciation

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 66 ')


Personal recollection of the life of South Africas first anti-apartheid MP.

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Russell Johnston

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 71 ')


Biography of this passionate and articulate exponent of Liberalism.

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Elegant and concise

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 82 ')


Review of David Dutton, A History of the Liberal Party Since 1900 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edition, 2013)

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The Left Foot

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 60 ')


Review of Kenneth O. Morgan, Michael Foot: A Life.

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Breaking the mould?

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal Democrat History 25 - Special issue: Crossing the Floor ')


Robert Maclennan was one of the original MPs who left the Labour Party to found the SDP, eventually becoming its third, and last, leader.Tony Little interviewed him during the 1999 Liberal Democrat conference at Harrogate.

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Red Guard versus Old Guard? The influence of the Young Liberal movement on the Liberal Party in the 1960s and 1970s

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 68 ')


Report of meeting of 12 March 2010; with Matt Cole, Michael Steed, William Wallace, George Kiloh, and Bernard Greaves. Chair: Tony Greaves.

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Report: Class of '81: who are the true heirs to the SDP?

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 71 ')


Report of Centre Forum meeting of March 2011, with Andrew Adonis, Chris Huhne MP and Greg Clark MP.

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Northern Liberal

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 66 ')


Review of Alan Beith, A View from the North (Northumbria University Press, 2008).

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Welsh women Liberals

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 71 ')


It was not just Lloyd George's daughters ...

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Be careful what you wish for

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 72 - Special issue: The Liberal experience of coalition government ')


The lessons of the Lib-Lab Pact for the Lib-Con coalition.

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Comprehensive Liberal history

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 73 ')


Review of Robert Ingham and Duncan Brack (eds.), Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 16792011.

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Liberal defectors identified and explored

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 82 ')


Review of Alun Wyburn-Powell, Defectors and the Liberal Party, 1910-2010: A Study of Inter-Party Relations (Manchester University
Press, 2012)

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Citizenship and democracy

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 53 ')


Review of Geoffrey Foote, The Republican Transformation of Modern British Politics

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The role of women in merger

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 62 - Special issue: Women and Liberalism ')


A personal view of women in Alliance politics.

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Richard Holme remembered

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 63 ')


Review of Alison Holmes (ed.), A Liberal Mind in Action: Essays in Memory of Richard Holme.

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It's Boy David

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 84 ')


Review of David Torrance, David Steel: Rising Hope to Elder Statesman (Biteback Publishing, 2012)

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Consolation government?

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 72 - Special issue: The Liberal experience of coalition government ')


Review of Bernard Donoughue, Downing Street Diary Volume Two: With James Callaghan in Number 10.

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Policy and ideology

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 73 ')


Review of Tudor Jones, The Revival of British Liberalism - From Grimond to Clegg.

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A Cold War Witness

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal Democrat History 25 - Special issue: Crossing the Floor ')


Review of Christopher Mayhew: A Cold War Witness

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Evolving the constitution

(from journal ' Journal of Liberal History 72 - Special issue: The Liberal experience of coalition government ')


Review of Vernon Bogdanor, The Coalition and the Constitution.

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Events
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Peace, Reform and Liberation: launch of new Liberal history book

Monday 19 September 2011

Peace, Reform and Liberation is a comprehensive history of Liberal politics in Britain.
...

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Lords Reform 1911-2011

Friday 11 March 2011

The 1911 Parliament Act, introduced in the wake of the rejection by the House of Lords of Lloyd Georges Peoples Budget and the two general elections of 1910, was the first successful reform of the po...

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A delicate balance

Sunday 20 September 2009

The long-term decline in popularity of Labour and the Conservatives, and the growth in the number of third-party MPs at Westminster including mostly notably those of the Liberal Democrats means tha...

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Working with Others: the Lib-Lab Pact, 1977-78

Monday 14 July 2008

From March 1977 to October 1978, the Liberal Party kept Jim Callaghans Labour government in power through the Lib-Lab Pact. Labour ministers consulted systematically with Liberal spokespeople across ...

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Liberals and local government in London since the 1970s

Monday 4 February 2008

Winning local elections has been a keystone in Liberal (Democrat) success in the years since the adoption of the community politics strategy at the Eastbourne Assembly in 1970. There have been many s...

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Civil liberties in war and peace

Monday 24 January 2005

Law and order has long been a major issue in British politics.
...

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Liberal Party General Election campaigns after 1945

Monday 3 February 2003

With David Butler, longstanding co-author and author of the acclaimed Nuffield General Election studies, and Neil Stockley, former Director of Policy, Liberal Democrats.
...

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The Limehouse Declaration and the birth of the SDP

Monday 29 January 2001

On 25 January 1981, four former Labour cabinet ministers - Roy Jenkins, David Owen, William Rodgers and Shirley Williams - published the Limehouse Declaration, publicly signalling their intention to ...

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Survival in the Balance: The Liberal Party after 1945

Monday 17 September 1990

Dr Stevenson examined the history of the Liberal Party after 1945, and its attempt to carve out an identity for itself in a hostile political world. He explored the historical dimension of the contin...

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Archives: libraries
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BLPES

Liberal Party Archives at the London School of Economics (BLPES) ...

archive url: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/
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Bristol University Library

The Liberal Party collections at the University of Bristol Library originate from the acquisition in 1976 of the Gladstone Library of the National Liberal Club ...

archive url: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/is/
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Coventry History Centre

Liberal Collections in the Archives ...

archive url: http://www.theherbert.org/index.php/home/history-centre
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Dundee City Archives

Liberal Collections at the Archives ...

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Manchester Archives and Local Studies

Liberal History Archives at Manchester Archives and Local Studies ...

archive url: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries/arls/
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National Library of Scotland

Sources in the Manuscripts Division of the National Library of Scotland for the study of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats ...

archive url: http://www.nls.uk/
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Archives: individuals
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Adrian Slade's interviews with leading party figures

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archive url: http://www.markpack.org.uk/29338/adrian-slade-interviews/
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Sandelson, Neville

Sandelson's papers at London School of Economics ...

archive url: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/archives
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Wainwright, Richard (1918-2003) and Lord Steel (1938-)

Project to catalogue the papers of Richard Wainwright and Lord David Steel at London School of Economics Archives ...

archive url: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/archives
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PhD theses
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An analysis of the reform of the House of Lords, 1911-2000

Supervisor: Professor Vernon B. Bogdanor

Oxford University , 2006

Citation form:
D.Phil

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British social democratic factionalism 1981-1996: case studies of the SDP 1981-88 and Liberal Democrats 1988-96


London Guildhall Ph.D. , 1996

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Political communications and party development in Britain: the Social Democratic Party from its origins to the General Election campaign of 1983


London School of Economics Ph.D. , 1987

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Seat-votes relationships in British general elections, 1955-97


Oxford, D.Phil , 2002

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The growth of third party support in Britain: a comparative study of the electoral bases for the Liberal and Scottish National Parties successes during the 1970s


London School of Economics Ph.D. , 1983

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The Liberal Party 1970 - 1983: its philosophy and political strategy


Leeds Ph.D. , 1999

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The making of Liberal Party policy, 1945-80


Reading Ph.D. , 1983

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The modernisation of party organisation: the impact of the Social Democratic Party


Strathclyde, Ph.D , 2002

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The strange death of Labour England: collective provision and social cohesion in Southwark, 1950-2000

Supervisor - Professor Avner Offer

Oxford, M.Phil , 2002

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Research
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The Liberal Party in Wales, 1966-1988

Aims to follow the development of the party from the general election of 1966 to the time of the merger with the SDP. PhD research at Cardiff University.

Nick Alderton

Contact: nickalito@hotmail.com

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The Liberal Party's political communication, 1945-2002

Research on the Liberal party and Lib Dems' political communication. Any information welcome (including testimonies) about electoral campaigns and strategies.

Cynthia Boyer

Contact: CUFR Champollion, Place de Verdun, 81 000 Albi, France; +33 5 63 48 19 77; cynthia.boyer@univ-jfc.fr

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