New Conservatives group demands migration curbs and school ‘gender ideology’ ban
A group of Conservatives elected in 2019 will set out their own manifesto ideas, including banning “gender ideology” from being taught in schools and slashing taxes.
They are two points from the New Conservatives’ five pledges, which also demands curbs on legal migration by halving the number of visas awarded to foreign workers.
The Tory MPs are arguing for the current set of rights and equalities laws, which enshrine the freedoms in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), to be replaced with a so-called “British framework”.
Made up of the likes of Devizes MP Danny Kruger, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Miriam Cates, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge — as well as having the support of deputy Tory chairman Lee Anderson — the group said so-called gender ideology should be banned in schools and parents should have the right to oversee the sex education their children received.
A report in March by right-leaning think tank Policy Exchange said schools were “increasingly becoming influenced by gender ideology”, claiming single-sex spaces were being compromised and that “gender identity beliefs” were being taught unchallenged in Relationships, Sex & Health Education lessons.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “very concerned” about the report’s findings but the new transgender guidance he promised for schools has yet to be published.
Meanwhile, the New Conservatives, as part of their pledges, said students who fail their A-levels should not be allowed to access taxpayer-funded loans to attend university, with more money invested in apprenticeships instead.
Taxes should be cut for families, small businesses and entrepreneurs, they added.
With the Tories trailing Labour by an average 18 points in opinion polls, the MPs say they are focused on policies that could appeal to Red Wall voters who switched their allegiance from Labour to give Boris Johnson his landslide victory at the general election four years ago.
Ms Cates, in a promotional video published on social media, said the group was “launching a movement to make sure those 2019 voters give us the support we need to win again next time”.
The New Conservatives said the five demands, designed to mirror the Prime Minister’s own five pledges to voters ahead of the next general election, “ought to make up the backbone of the next Conservative Party manifesto”.
The policies are due to be set out at a rally on Monday on the fringes of the Tory conference in Manchester, with senior Tories such as former business secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former home secretary Dame Priti Patel expected to speak.
Ahead of the rally, the group published a survey suggesting there was support among British voters for replacing human rights laws inherited from Europe if they were replaced with domestic equivalents that protected freedoms but allowed the UK Government to more easily deport migrants who arrived without permission to reside.
Polling of more than 2,000 UK adults between September 22 and 24 by Whitestone Insight found voters supported “replacing the current European system of human rights laws applied in Britain with new British laws that protect rights like free speech but enable the Government to promptly deport illegal migrants”.
Some 30% of voters said they strongly supported the statement and almost a quarter said they tended to support it, giving a net support figure of 54%, compared to net opposition of 27%.
Conservative-identifying voters had a net support of 86%, while 6% opposed and 8% said they did not know what they thought.
Net support among Labour voters reached 40%, with 43% in opposition.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has kept the door open to possibly leaving the ECHR, with Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch also saying that withdrawing should remain an option as Mr Sunak looks to deliver on his pledge of stopping boats carrying migrants from crossing the Channel.
The first deportation flight to Rwanda last year was halted following intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which interprets the convention.
The Government policy of sending migrants that arrive in Britain without authorisation to Rwanda or back to their country of origin is currently held up in the courts.
The New Conservatives announced their arrival in July with a report calling for ministers to close temporary visa schemes for care workers and cap the number of refugees resettling in the UK at 20,000.
The publication of the report, The New Conservatives’ Plan To Cut Migration, came after the Office for National Statistics said that legal net migration stood at 606,000 last year.
Ms Cates, speaking at the report’s launch event in Westminster, said that without reforms “we’re not going to stop the addiction to cheap labour”.Published: by Radio NewsHub