- May abandons large sections of her manifesto after failing to win a majority in the general election.
- Promises to bring back grammar schools, end the ban on fox hunting and scrap free school meals all dropped.
- Cuts to pensioner benefits scrapped.
- Donald Trump’s state visit put on hold.
LONDON — Theresa May has abandoned a whole swathe of election promises she made just weeks ago, after failing to win a majority in the general election and failing to secure a hung parliament deal with the DUP.
Large areas of policy which May campaigned on have been erased from the Queen’s Speech and so now will not be put forward by her government for at least the next two years.
Here are just some of the manifesto promises May has now ditched.
One of May’s biggest election promises was to bring back grammar schools. The Conservative manifesto promised that: “We will lift the ban on the establishment of selective schools” and allow the return of a new wave of grammars.
However, there is sizeable opposition to the policy within the Conservative party, the opposition, education experts and others, so May has decided to drop the policy altogether. She will instead invest in technical education.
“We want every child to go to a good or outstanding school,” the government’s briefing states.
“We will look at options and work with Parliament to bring forward proposals that can command a majority.”
A Conservative party spokesman confirmed that bringing back grammars would not be taken forward in this parliament.
The Dementia tax
The biggest controversy of the general election was May’s plans to reform social care. The policy, which was quickly dubbed “the dementia tax” is widely credited with costing May her majority.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the whole policy seems to have been ditched.
Instead May promises to “work with partners at all levels including those who use services and who work to provide care, to bring forward proposals for public consultation. The government will consult on options [on social care] to encourage a wider debate.”
Another big vote-loser for May was her proposal to have a free vote on bringing back fox hunting.
The policy was regularly brought up on the doorstep and became a major campaigning issue for the Conservatives’ opponents, particularly online. However, there is no mention of the proposals in the Queen’s speech, meaning that Britain’s foxes can sleep safe for now. A Conservative spokesman told BI said this was “not a priority” any longer for the government.
Cutting winter fuel payments
The cull of guaranteed vote-losing policies continues with May’s plans to cut winter fuel payments for wealthier pensioners.
The policy was incredibly badly received by older voters, who until that point had been planning to vote in overwhelming numbers for the Conservatives.
This policy, along with the dementia tax, are widely credited with having torn down May’s firewall with older voters. Unsurprisingly there is absolutely no mention of the plans in the Queen’s speech or accompanying documents.
Ending the pensions triple lock
The Conservative manifesto promised to end the triple lock on pensions by 2020. Under the triple lock the value of the state pensions goes up by either i
nflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5%, depending on which is highest.
Under the proposals, May would have ended the 2.5% commitment, effectively making it a double rather than a triple lock. Again, the policy was hugely unpopular and now appears to have been dropped.
A spokesman for May said the triple lock would continue until at least 2020 but did not comment on whether it would be lifted after that.
Scrapping free school lunches
Given the list of deeply unpopular policies May included in her manifesto it is in some ways impressive that the Conservatives did as well as they did.
Among the policies almost designed to lose votes to Labour was May’s pledge to scrap free school lunches for infant school children and replace them with free breakfasts. The policy was deeply unpopular with parents, would have saved significantly less money than originally believed and would have been fought hard against by the likes of Jamie Oliver and other big-name campaigners. Today’s Queen’s Speech suggests May has decided it’s a fight she can’t win.
Although not included in her manifesto, May had promised to welcome US president Donald Trump for a state visit to the UK this year. However, Trump’s visit now appears to have been kicked into the long grass following huge protests against it. There was no mention of the visit in the Queen’s speech, which traditionally lists all planned upcoming state visits for the coming year. As this speech will cover two years, it means Trump’s visit seems to have been put off until the never never. A spokesman for May said the invitation to Trump remained in place but that “no date has yet been set.”
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