William Hague has rejected the suggestion that the government should change direction on issues such as equal marriage and immigration, to win back voters lost to UKIP in last week’s local elections.
The foreign secretary was responding to calls from far right members of the Conservative party, who suggested the equal marriage bill should be scrapped, as well as bringing forward a referendum on the EU, leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, and limiting immigration.
At the weekend, David Cameron, was urged by some within his own party to scrap the equal marriage bill, in an effort to attempt to win back voters who chose UKIP over his party in last week’s local elections.
The latest local election results show the Conservatives had lost control of nine councils – with UKIP making large gains, polling an average share of 25%. This success came in spite of a Tory Cabinet Minister dismissing UKIP as a “collection of clowns”.
Some had attributed Tory losses in the election to Cameron’s support for the bill.
Writing for the Telegraph, Hague said there was no “magic wand” or “quick fixes” to solve problems faced by the Government, but that the Conservative Party was looking for long-term problem solving for the UK.
“There is always a temptation for politicians to offer quick fixes; to say we can cut taxes, increase spending, bring down the deficit and solve our problems with a magic wand. When times are hard the temptation to do this is even stronger. People are tired of bad news.
“Many want to hear that there’s a Plan B or C or D that is a shortcut to success. But to offer shortcuts that will not work would be to cheat the British people, offering them a dead end – and frankly it is patronising to them too.”
One senior Tory MP, however told the Guardian that “William Hague is once again proving that he is always wrong on strategy,” likening UKIP’s success to the Green Party in 1989, which gained 15% of the vote share.
The Guardian reported that Downing Street was attempting to woo disaffected Tory voters by omitting any refrence to the equal marriage bill in the Queen’s speech tomorrow, however, PinkNews revealed last Friday that the speech by the 87-year-old monarch was unlikely to mention the Coalition Government’s commitment to equal marriage, as it has already begun its journey through Parliament.