Theresa May promises 'good solid conservatism' in Tory manifesto

Frederick Owens
May 19, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May revealed her core election promises and political vision Thursday, saying she will slash immigration and take Britain definitively out of the European Union, then build a "great meritocracy" by giving the poor a helping hand and lifting barriers to social mobility.

The manifesto said the United Kingdom may be willing to make a "reasonable" contribution to the European Union after it leaves the bloc. "There is good solid Conservatism that puts the interests of the country and the interests of ordinary working people at the heart of everything we do in government".

He said: "We care very much about people being in work and that's a great way of tackling poverty".

Pitching to voters outside her centre-right party's traditional base, May promised new rights for workers, to curb executive pay and cap energy prices.

May said that Brexit "will not be easy" but she would not shy away from making "hard choices" to turn the country into a "great meritocracy".

"The next five years are the most challenging that Britain has faced in my lifetime".

She said that her administration would "reject the cult of selfish individualism".

May repeated her threat to walk away from the negotiations with the European Union if she deemed the terms on offer too onerous, although she said she wanted to secure a deal, including on new trade ties.

The BBC said the manifesto will propose extra charges for businesses who employ non-EU migrants and higher charges for migrants who use the National Health Service.

With concerns over immigration one of the main reasons why Britons voted for Brexit, May again vowed to cut migration annually to the tens of thousands, a target the Conservative government has missed since first taking power in 2010.

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The platform signals that May is more willing than her predecessor, David Cameron, to let the state intervene in markets.

Two new opinion surveys published on Thursday showed Labour gaining some ground after leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn published his manifesto this week, although the party is still trailing badly.

After the Tories failed to follow Labour and Liberal Democrats in providing full costings for their plans, shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the manifesto as "an 84-page blank cheque that provides a tax giveaway guarantee for big business while offering a roll of the dice for working families with no commitments to rule out rises in income tax and national insurance".

She also took aim at better-off pensioners as she pledged to means test the winter fuel allowance and ask pensioners with more than £100,000 in assets to pay for their social care - be that residential or at home.

She rejected suggestions that policies such as an energy price cap, a commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on global aid and new rights for workers represented a move away from the Conservatism of Margaret Thatcher.

But she later denied that this manifesto was a recasting of conservatism in the image of her political philosophy as she insisted "there is no Mayism".

May will end universal free school lunches for infants to fund an extra 1 billion pounds per year for education, the newspaper said.

The party has also promised to "legislate for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms" and to take a "more proactive approach to transparency and misuse of trusts".

"The Conservatives have not changed".

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