The new Tory party is the most Thatcherite yet

Thatcher, not Cameron, is the guiding spirit behind the new Tories

Jonathan Isaby has a piece in today's Times looking at the new crop of Conservative candidates. Here is the crucial passage:

As for their politics, the new intake will for the most part be "Thatcher's Children", rather than "Cameron's Children". Yes, some have joined the party since he won the leadership in 2005, but far more came of age politically during the 1980s.

Isaby is right; the next Tory parliamentary party is likely to be the most Thatcherite in history. It will be stridently Eurosceptic, aggressively pro-market and hawkish on foreign policy. As I reported earlier this week, it will also be deeply reluctant to tackle climate change.

For much of the 1980s, the cabinet at least contained One-Nation Tories (the so-called wets) such as Francis Pym, James Prior and Peter Walker. But Kenneth Clarke is now the only genuine representative of this tradition left on the Tory front bench.

The party will be far more socially liberal than it was under Thatcher -- the return of Section 28, or anything like it, is now unthinkable -- but in most other respects it will be no less right-wing.

And with David Cameron likely to win a small Commons majority of roughly 30, we can expect his backbenchers to exercise significant influence on his government.

 

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.