Selsdon Group is a British free-market economics pressure 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
Minister at the time, Harold Wilson
who coined the phrase Selsdon Man
as a consequence. Wilson
went on to lose the general election of
to Edward Heath.
Selsdon Group members believe that economic freedom
is the indispensable
condition for political and social freedom.
Its President is the Rt. Hon. John
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
and John Major