Why are the Conservatives called Conservatives? The nickname of the political party unveiled

Why do we call the Conservatives “Conservatives”? (Photo: Peter Dazeley / Getty Images)

We all know Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team are members of the Conservative and Unionist Party – but it can be a bit long.

So the opposition, Labor will often refer to them as the “conservative” party instead. You’ll likely see or hear the nickname in the news, in newspapers, on social media, and in casual conversations as well.

But “Tory” isn’t short for “conservative” – ​​so where does the name come from?

It turns out that its origin is not that beautiful …

Why is the Conservative Party called the Conservative Party?

“Tory” or “Tories” is a name that dates back to the 1600s.

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary & Thesaurus, the name was first used around 1679 during the exclusion crisis – which saw two separate parties emerge in Parliament, unable to agree on who should succeed the King Charles II.

Charles II King of England

The name dates back to the 1600s (Photo: Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Charles’ brother James, Duke of York, was a Roman Catholic and not a member of the Church of England, which was the Christian denomination generally followed by the monarch.

The main party at the time, the Whigs, had a traditional view. They were against James taking the throne. However, an opposing group called the Conservatives have formed to support him.

“Tory” comes from the Irish Gaelic word “tóraidhe”, which means “outlaw”.

It is also interpreted with other similar meanings: pursuer, robber, thief, highwayman.

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“Tóraidhe” was used by the Irish to describe people who had been forced to steal in order to survive, after being driven from their homes by settlers in England, according to The Irish Post.

Indeed, the Conservatives took a non-traditional point of view on this particular issue – and although the crisis of exclusion raged until 1681, they finally got what they wanted.

James II was crowned King of England from 1685 to 1688. He happened to be the last Catholic monarch in the country.

The Conservatives continued as a political party in the 1700s, but were dissolved in the 1830s – and reformed as a Conservative Party in 1834.

However, it looks like the nickname stuck.

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