“Conservative candidates in the general election will be told not to sign up to specific pledges on protecting the NHS from privatisation and trade deals or tackling climate change, according to a leaked internal document from party headquarters.
The 11-page briefing note explains the party’s position on nine key areas and “strongly advises” prospective Tory MPs “against signing up to any pledges” unless they have been agreed from the centre.
However, supporting shooting is allowed “as an important part of rural life”, the document says. …
The issues on which candidates have been told to avoid signing up to pledges include:
Trade deals with the NHS.
The memo warns candidates to avoid signing any pledges to “protect our NHS from trade deals with new legislation which ends privatisation”. It says this kind of pledge would “give credence to factually inaccurate smears … The NHS is not for sale.” It says candidates should focus instead on “Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to override the British people on Brexit”.
Tory candidates are told that many campaigns to tackle climate change “contain unrealistic targets that would be impossible to achieve” and that it would be better to focus on “practical, reasonable steps to protect our planet while keeping bills down”. The memo claims Labour does not have a credible approach to the problem.
Women’s state pension age.
This highly charged issue could be a significant factor for women in the general election as the age for receiving a state pension rises from 60 to 65. Boris Johnson has promised to review the change, but the memo urges candidates not to engage on the issue. “Avoid signing [pledges],” it says.
“Changes to the state pension age are part of a long overdue move towards gender equality and will put the pensions system on a more sustainable footing for future generations.”
Standing up for Brexit.
The memo says it is unnecessary to pledge to stand up for Brexit because “a Conservative government with a functioning majority will immediately get Brexit done”.
Other pledges to avoid relate to private schools. Tory hopefuls are told they could say: “Labour’s plans to abolish private schools … would dramatically increase class sizes and do nothing for our children’s education.” …”