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22 January 2010

The new Tory party is the most Thatcherite yet

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

By George Eaton

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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