Theresa May won’t tell journalists what kind of Tory she is

Written by David Singleton on 18 May 2017 in Diary

The PM did not deny being a 'Red Tory'... or a Thatcherite.

The Conservative manifesto’s insistence that "we do not believe in untrammelled free markets" could be seen as the ultimate proof that Theresa May does has something in common with Ed Miliband after all.

The assertion that "our responsibility to one another is greater than the rights we hold as individuals" suggests the prime minister could be more of a Tony Blair fan than she has previously let on.

And the declaration that "we reject the cult of selfish individualism" looks like a clear dismissal of Margaret Thatcher’s political ideology.

So exactly what kind of Conservative is May? In the question and answer session after the Tory manifesto launch, lobby journalists did their best to crack the conundrum. But the prime minister steadfastly refused to give any clues.

The exchanges went something like this:

Journalist: “Are you proud of you new moniker as a Red Tory?”

May: “The Conservative party has always been on the centre ground.”

Journalist: “Do you consider yourself a Thatcherite?”

May: “Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative. I’m a Conservative. This is a Conservative manifesto.”

Journalist: “What does the manifesto tell us about your philosophy?”

May: “I think it tells you I’m a Conservative.”

Journalist: “Is Mayism a rejection of Thatcherism and are you personally rejecting comparisons with Thatcher?”

May: “There is no Mayism. I know you journalists like to write about it. There is good, solid Conservatism which puts the interests of the country and the interests of ordinary working people at the heart of everything we do in government.”






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