By Matthew Barrett
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The Daily Mail this morning reports on the 118 Conservative MPs who have written to constituents indicating their opposition to gay marriage proposals. The Mail says "Their opposition has been expressed in letters and emails sent to constituents who have contacted them with their own concerns", and points out that if these MPs voted against proposals, it would constitute the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times. However, Equalities Minister (and Secretary of State for Culture) Maria Miller pointed out on Twitter that since any vote on the issue would be a free vote, it would not technically be counted as a rebellion.
I have listed the MPs from the Mail's story below.
Saturday, November 24, 2012 in Adam Holloway MP, Alec Shelbrooke MP, Alun Cairns MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Andrew Bingham MP, Andrew Bridgen MP, Andrew Robathan MP, Andrew Rosindell MP, Andrew Selous MP, Andrew Turner MP, Andrew Tyrie MP, Anne Main MP, Anne Marie Morris MP, Anne McIntosh, Ben Wallace MP, Bill Cash MP, Bill Wiggin, Bob Blackman MP, Bob Stewart MP, Brian Binley MP, Caroline Dinenage MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Cheryl Gillan MP, Christopher Chope MP, Christopher Pincher MP, Conor Burns MP, Craig Whittaker MP, David Burrowes MP, David Davies MP, David Davis MP, David Evennett MP, David Jones MP, David Nuttall MP, David Ruffley MP, David Rutley MP, David T C Davies MP, David Tredinnick MP, Douglas Carswell MP, Edward Leigh MP, Eleanor Laing MP, Esther McVey MP, Fiona Bruce MP, Gareth Johnson MP, Gary Streeter MP, Gavin Williamson MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Geoffrey Cox MP, George Freeman MP, George Hollingbery MP, Gerald Howarth MP, Glyn Davies MP, Gordon Henderson MP, Graham Brady MP, Guto Bebb MP, Henry Bellingham MP, Henry Smith MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Jake Berry MP, James Wharton MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP, Jeremy Wright MP, John Glen MP, John Hayes MP, John Redwood MP, John Stevenson MP, John Whittingdale MP, Jonathan Evans MP, Jonathan Lord MP, Julian Brazier MP, Julian Lewis MP, Karl McCartney MP, Laurence Robertson MP, Marcus Jones MP, Maria Miller MP, Mark Pawsey MP, Mark Pritchard MP, Martin Vickers MP, Matthew Offord MP, Mel Stride MP, Mike Penning MP, Neil Parish MP, Nick de Bois MP, Nicky Morgan MP, Nicola Blackwood MP, Nigel Adams MP, Owen Paterson MP, Paul Maynard MP, Paul Uppal MP, Pauline Latham MP, Peter Aldous MP, Peter Bone MP, Peter Lilley MP, Philip Davies MP, Philip Hammond MP, Philip Hollobone MP, Phillip Lee MP, Priti Patel MP, Rehman Chishti MP, Richard Drax MP, Richard Fuller MP, Richard Shepherd MP, Robert Buckland MP, Robert Goodwill MP, Robert Halfon MP, Robert Syms MP, Robert Walter MP, Roger Gale MP, Simon Burns MP, Simon Reevell MP, Sir Paul Beresford MP, Stephen Crabb, Stephen McPartland MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Steve Brine MP, Stewart Jackson MP, Thérèse Coffey MP, Tim Loughton MP, Tony Baldry MP | Permalink | Comments
By Matthew Barrett
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On Friday, 50 MPs, including 34 Conservatives, wrote a letter to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, expressing their "serious concerns" with the Department of Health’s proposal to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products.
The letter stated that:
"There is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will have any public health benefit; no country in the world has yet to introduce it. However, such a measure could have extremely negative consequences elsewhere. The proposal will be a smuggler’s charter. ... this policy threatens more than 5,500 jobs directly employed by the UK tobacco sector, and over 65,000 valued jobs in the associated supply chain. ... Given the continued difficult economic climate, businesses should not be subjected to further red tape and regulation"
The signatories of the letter also expressed concern about the freedom aspect of blocking any branding of tobacco products:
"...we believe products must be afforded certain basic commercial freedoms. The forcible removal of branding would infringe fundamental legal rights, severely damage principles around intellectual property and set a dangerous precedent for the future of commercial free speech. Indeed, if the Department of Health were to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products, would it also do the same for alcohol, fast food, chocolate and all other products deemed unhealthy for us?"
Monday, July 02, 2012 in Alun Cairns MP, Andrew Lansley MP, Anne Main MP, Bob Stewart MP, Brian Binley MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Christopher Chope MP, David Nuttall MP, Douglas Carswell MP, Gordon Henderson MP, Graham Brady MP, Greg Knight MP, Guto Bebb MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Karl McCartney MP, Laurence Robertson MP, Mark Pawsey MP, Mark Spencer MP, Michael Fallon MP, Mike Freer MP, Neil Parish MP, Nigel Mills MP, Paul Uppal MP, Peter Bone MP, Philip Davies MP, Philip Hollobone MP, Richard Drax MP, Robert Walter MP, Robin Walker MP, Simon Hart MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Steve Baker MP, Thérèse Coffey MP | Permalink | Comments
By Matthew Barrett
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My series profiling the backbench groups of Tory MPs has so far mainly featured groups founded or mostly composed of 2010 intake MPs. Last time, I looked at the Thatcherite No Turning Back group, founded in the 1980s. This week's group is somewhere between the two. The Cornerstone Group is the main group whose defining mission is to represent socially conservative Members of Parliament. The group was formed in 2005, and presented some challenges for David Cameron's leadership. In this profile, I'll see how the group is doing now.
Origins of the group
Cornerstone was founded by Edward Leigh and John Hayes, who still chair the group. Leigh has been the MP for Gainsborough since 1983, and is a former Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry, who was sacked for his opposition to Maastricht, and John Hayes, who has been the MP for South Holland and the Deepings since 1997, and the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning since 2010.
Cornerstone admired the work done during Iain Duncan Smith's time as leader to promote a more communitarian, Burkean conservatism, and wanted to ensure IDS' work on this front was carried on.
When the group launched formally in July 2005, it released a pamphlet, which criticised Michael Howard's election campaign for being too quiet about tax cuts, public service reform and family values. Strongly condemning the personality politics and liberalism of New Labour, Leigh wrote:
"We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition, nation, family, religious ethics, free enterprise ... Emulating New Labour both lacks authenticity and is unlikely to make us popular. We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based."
The group first exerted its influence during the 2005 leadership contest. A group of about twenty Cornerstone supporters interviewed David Cameron, David Davis and Liam Fox. Fox apparently put in the best performance, while David Davis was, reportedly, not able to take criticism well. This meeting, combined with David Davis' alienating stint as the Minister for Europe under Major, and Davis' reluctance to support Iain Duncan Smith's compassionate conservatism programme wholeheartedly, is thought to be why many Cornerstone supporters first voted for Fox, and then switched to Cameron.
Friday, May 04, 2012 in Adam Holloway MP, Alan Duncan MP, Andrew Rosindell MP, Andrew Selous MP, Andrew Turner MP, Angela Watkinson MP, Baroness Thatcher, Bill Cash MP, Bob Spink MP, Brian Binley MP, Charles Walker MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Christopher Chope MP, Christopher Fraser MP, Daniel Kawczynski MP, David Amess MP, David Burrowes MP, David Cameron MP, David Davies, David Davies MP, David Davis MP, David Jones MP, David Mundell MP, David Nuttall MP, David T C Davies MP, Desmond Swayne MP, Douglas Carswell MP, Edward Leigh MP, Fiona Bruce MP, George Osborne MP, Gerald Howarth MP, Graham Stuart MP, Greg Hands MP, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, John Hayes MP, John Redwood MP, John Whittingdale MP, Julian Brazier MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Laurence Robertson MP, Lee Scott MP, Liam Fox MP, Mark Harper MP, Martin Vickers MP, Matthew Hancock MP, Mel Stride MP, Michael Howard MP, Nadine Dorries MP, Neil Carmichael MP, Nicola Blackwood MP, Nigel Adams MP, Owen Paterson MP, Peter Bone MP, Philip Hollobone MP, Priti Patel MP, Robert Goodwill MP, Robert Halfon MP, Sajid Javid MP, Sheryll Murray MP, Stephen Crabb, Steve Baker MP, Stewart Jackson MP, Thérèse Coffey MP, Tory MPs Groups | Permalink | Comments
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