News from Grassroots conservatives
15 Oct 2017
PRESS RELEASE from Grassroots conservatives
Concerns continue to mount over Justine Greening’s “deeply unconservative” transgender policy
· 87 per cent of Conservative Councillors say the party to focus on the economy and Brexit
· 75 per cent want schools to promote traditional models of family and marriage
· 67 per cent believe parents, not schools, should teach children about adult relationships
· Only three per cent believe that plans to make it easier to change gender will win votes
· Support for traditional marriage is seen as a vote winner (52 per cent).
· Transgender reforms and unisex toilets in schools are seen as toxic by more than half of respondents.
· Education Secretary backed by just four in 10 of Conservative Councillors
Concerns continue to mount among Tory activists over Justine Greening’s “deeply unconservative” transgender policy that they describe as a “disturbing ideology”.
Grassroots conservatives, which champions the rights and views of ordinary members, believe the policy, which is being pushed through could cause “unfathomable” suffering to the vulnerable.
So concerned are the group about Government plans, that they have taken the unusal step of writing an open letter to the Party’s 317 Members of Parliament.
This is the first significant policy intervention by Grassroots conservatives since the General Election. It follows the release of a poll of 550 Conservative councillors, conducted by ComRes last month that found activists wanted the party to abandon this policy, which was seen as out of step with the Party membership and a vote loser, and concentrate on securing a good Brexit and the economy.
Mary Douglas, the spokesperson on the Committee for Marriage and Family for Grassroots conservatives commented: “The Education Secretary is completely out of step with the majority of Party’s members, who view this policy with profound contempt and as deeply unconservative.
“Worst still, as a recent poll of Conservative Councillors found, the policy is seen as a major vote loser and a distraction to the huge job of securing a good Brexit deal and managing the economy.”
The poll, commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage, the UK’s largest pro-marriage group, found just three per cent believe that plans to make it easier to change gender will win votes. While a clear majority 54 per cent of those surveyed thought allowing transgender people to change their legal gender without the need for medical diagnosis would lose more votes than it would win.
By contrast support for marriage and its promotion remained very high. Three quarters (75 per cent) believed that traditional marriage and the family should be promoted through the education system and two thirds (67 per cent) believed that parents should decide when and how children learn about adult relationships.
Asked to identify what the Government’s priorities should be for education, a full three quarters rated attainment, as “very important” and a further quarter (23 per cent) said “fairly important”. While 97 per cent identified ensuring school funding as very or fairly important, the same number as ensuring good discipline. Just one in 12 (eight per cent) said providing unisex toilets in schools was “very” or “fairly important”, with nearly eight in 10 (77 per cent) saying it was not. Worryingly for the Government, the Labour Party’s policy of scrapping university tuition fees was supported by three times (25 per cent) as many Conservative Councillors, while just one in six (16 per cent) thought lessons on gender were a priority.
These numbers are a strong rejection of Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Equalities Justine Greening’s flagship policy.
And in a fresh blow to the Education Secretary, the survey found just four in 10 councillors (40 per cent), had a favourable view of her “policies and achievements” with just 5 per cent saying very favourably. Nearly half (46 per cent) of those who responded rated her neither favourably nor unfavourably.
When asked the same question more than seven in 10 (72 per cent) of those surveyed thought very favourably (30 per cent), or fairly favourably (41 per cent) the former Prime Minister and Education Secretary Margaret Thatcher. While two thirds (67 per cent) thought the same of Mr Gove, who scored 33 per cent and 34 per cent respectively.
Mrs Douglas continued: “After ditching policies designed to raise standards and attainment, such as reintroducing grammar schools, the Education Secretary seems to have embraced proposals that will see compulsory sex and relationship education forced on all and with no right of parental withdrawal and the promotion of transgenderism.”
The poll asked the Conservative councillors what should be included in sex and relationships education in schools. It found overwhelming support for teaching children about the importance of traditional marriage (77 per cent), while fewer than four in ten respondents (39 per cent) believed it ought to include lessons on gender identity. Interestingly those surveyed backed lessons on internet safety (99 per cent) and on respect and consent (98 per cent).
Interestingly the poll found that a majority (51 per cent) of councillors believed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to hold socially conservative views in the conservative party, with just one in five (20 per cent) disagreeing. Six in 10 (61 per cent) thought the Party is overly focused on politically correct issues, while 87 per cent would rather it focused on the economy and Brexit than socially progressive causes.
Mrs Douglas concluded: “During the gay marriage debate those who supported it told us that marriage was the gold standard of relationships and its benefits should be extended to all loving couples. But years after its introduction politicians continue to treat this institution with disdain. The married couples allowance is derisory and children are still not being taught about its benefits. It’s time for the Prime Minister to order a rethink.”