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Tory MPs want to weaponise trans rights, pronouns and ‘British values’ to help Boris Johnson win another term

Emma Powys Maurice September 30, 2020
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson meeting with Donald Trump in September 2019 (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)

A growing number of Tory MPs are reportedly pushing for the party to weaponise trans rights and other liberal values to boost support for Boris Johnson ahead of the next election.

It’s thought that a ‘culture war’ could be an effective way to unite the base and remind voters the benefits of a Conservative government, according to analysis and off-the-record sources from Katy Balls, deputy political editor at The Spectator, as published in the i.

A number of MPs speaking to the paper suggested that issues such as unconscious bias training, non-binary pronouns and the renaming of institutions could be used as a touchpoint for future votes.

“We should start the conversation on British values and lead it. It’s that or the current approach where we end up having to talk about how rubbish we are at testing,” said one Conservative MP in a former Labour seat. “It’s an obvious choice.”

“It’s something we can do easily,” added another MP pushing for change. “You don’t need to call out woke madness through a vote in the Commons, you can do it in a sentence.”

These calls for a culture war have grown louder as both Boris Johnson and his approval rating take a battering – and with the actor Laurence Fox launching his own party aimed at the “reclamation” of British values, some argue there is a need for more of this and fast.

Among the strongest voices calling for this divisive approach belong to the 2019 intake of Tory MPs in former Labour heartlands, who reportedly have their own WhatsApp group called the ‘Blue Barricade’.

Identifying as ‘Blue Collar Conservatives’, these MPs are pushing for a line which resonates with the socially-conservative voters in their constituencies.

They’re supported in some areas by the ‘Common Sense’ group of MPs, many of whom recently refused to take part in unconscious bias training to root out homophobia, racism and misogyny in the party.

“I would really rather gouge my eyes out with a blunt stick than sit through that Marxist, snake oil crap,” one anonymous Tory told The Times.

“In my view we should be unabashed in our cultural conservatism,” said another, “sticking up for free speech and the right to ‘make my own bloody mind up, thank you very much’, and stepping in to block this ‘unconscious bias’ nonsense.”

More: Blue Collar Conservatives, Boris Johnson, Conservative Party, Culture war, Laurence Fox

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