No Turning Back (political group)

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No Turning Back is a group within the British Conservative Party advocating Thatcherite policies. It was founded in 1985 to defend Margaret Thatcher's free-market reforms.[1] The group was named in honour of Thatcher's 1980 Conservative conference quote "U-turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning."[2] No Turning Back published less material in the nineties and became involved in Conservative party in-fighting, resulting in both Michael Portillo and Francis Maude leaving the group,[1][2] but became more prominent during Iain Duncan Smith's time as Conservative leader because he had been a member until he was elected.[2]

Since 2005 the No Turning Back group has been chaired by John Redwood. It reportedly has "about 100 members" with "quite a lot" from the 2010 intake.[3] It has published pamphlets on the subjects of taxation and social mobility in the past, although the group exists mainly as a private dining club, meeting monthly, usually inviting a Minister or external expert to speak. There are currently no plans to launch future pamphlets.

The group has been seen as "deeply antagonistic" towards David Cameron, specifically early on in his leadership.[4]


The No Turning Back Group allegedly discussed their 'grumbles' at David Cameron over a bowl of soup at the so-called Dinner Party Plot (2013). John Redwood refutes these claims.[5]

Brightly Coloured Ties[edit]

Due to the group, brightly coloured ties have become a symbol of political purity on the right of the conservative party. Following the Death of Eric Forth in 2006, his widow donated a stock of his sizable brightly coloured tie selection to the group. The annual "Eric Forth Memorial Award" was subsequently established, 'for the MP who had done most to carry on Eric's work'. The first winner of this award was Philip Davies who said "winning the award was one of the most special moments of my life in parliament".[6]

Similar Groups[edit]

The group shares many aims and members with the 92 Group (which is chaired by Christopher Chope, who is also a member of No Turning Back) and the Cornerstone Group (chaired by Sir Edward Leigh, also a member of No Turning Back).


Past and current members include-


The group's publications include-

  • "Healthy Choices" 2002
  • "The Case for Lower Taxes" 2006[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Portillo turns back on No Turning Back". BBC. 2 November 2000. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Morris, Nigel (1 March 2002). "No Turning Back group steps back into spotlight". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  3. ^ Barrett, Matthew. "What is the No Turning Back group? Matthew Barrett profiles the keepers of the Thatcherite flame". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Cameron's 'u-turns' disturb No Turning Back group". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Tory MP Adam Afriyie on party positioning for leadership (17Mar13)". YouTube. The Daily Politics.[dead YouTube link]
  6. ^ "Picturing Politics: Eric Forth and his brightly coloured ties". Ballots and Bullets. University of Nottingham. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Shrimsley, Robert (3 August 1993). "MPs propose tailor-made benefits to cut spending". The Daily Telegraph. London. p. 8.
  8. ^ Mp, Conservative (16 October 2002). "Michael Fallon". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  9. ^ Roth, Andrew; White, Michael (19 May 2006). "Eric Forth". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  10. ^ "About Greg". Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  11. ^ Bevins, Anthony (8 October 1995). "Anthony Bevins: Tories rocked as senior MP Alan Howarth defects to Labour". Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Gerald Howarth MP". Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  13. ^ Travis, Alan (14 January 1994). "WESTMINSTER SCANDAL: Key players: An unreconstructed Thatcherite at the core of the cottage plot". The Guardian. Manchester.
  14. ^ Mp, Conservative (17 October 2002). "Edward Leigh". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Duncan Smith, champion of the right". BBC. 15 August 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  16. ^ Kite, Melissa (3 September 2006). "We must cut tax as a matter of morality, senior Tories insist". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 October 2016.