Conservative Home article- the Conservative groupings

The Prime Minister asked for unity before Christmas. No Conservative MP as a result voted against his Rwanda bill, though there were various reservations and arguments about it across the party. The Opposition and press tried to make more of it than it warranted, only to be disappointed on the night when the bill secured a majority of 44.
Now there is an attempt to write of a civil war within the party. This is to misunderstand how democratic politics in a lively major national party works. Numbers  of MPs in Conservative and in Labour are regularly forming ad hoc groups , creating Whatsapp groups and holding meetings to press for more of this or less of that. Great parties have groups that formed in such arguments  years ago only to survive and become evergreen groups pursuing a theme or perspective within the family of views that the coalition of their party encompasses. The 1922 Committee in the Conservative party is the most powerful and long lasting, formed over a century ago by a group of MPs after Conservatives had withdrawn from a coalition government. This has become the backbench committee for MPs of all Conservative persuasions
It is healthy that MP  pressure groups engage with Ministers and with each other to ensure policy and new laws are properly examined and debated in a party context before being tested in Parliamentary and public debate. I am not sure who the so called five families were in the latest discussions, as I can think of at least eight groupings who had  some members  concerned lest the small boats legislation did not work. They all always supported the Prime Minister’s objective of stopping the small boats.  There was the European Research Group as in the papers. There was the  vocal New Conservatives Group under Danny Kruger.  There was the NTB, formed years ago to support Margret Thatcher during struggles within the party on economic policy and committed to   lower taxes and controlled spending. There was the newly formed  Conservative Growth Group with a similar outlook to NTB. There was the Commonsense Group of social Conservatives usually preoccupied with education, free speech and law and order. There was Conservative Way Forward, another pro Thatcher grouping  formed in 1991. There was the Northern Research Group, a recent grouping committed to levelling up in  the Red wall seats. There was the Conservative group in favour of a stronger Union of the UK.
There was also the One Nation group who were regularly briefing the press. It is difficult to believe they have over 100 members who were ever going to rebel as some guided press stories implied.  They have various Ministers and maybe a good mailing list of others.  I was told they had just 20 people present at their meeting held prior to announcing their backbencher stance on the Bill to the press when they announced they would vote for the bill as long as it was not further amended in specified ways. The other eight groupings I have mentioned here do not publish numbers, and there is considerable overlapping of membership as any MP can join in with more than one group. In total these groupings would have considerably more than 100  MPs attending between them, and an individual group may well have more than 100 on its mailing list.
All this means that for the small boats bill and for other matters there will continue to be a healthy debate within the Conservative party, because we think public policy matters and can be improved by discussion and friendly disagreements. The civil service often draft bills that do not properly reflect the original aim of the Ministers and party, finding ways to soften their impact or dilute their intent. More often civil servants see a bill as a way to introduce all sorts of things they would like that are not necessary for the original intention. Recent governments from the Blair government  onwards have got into bad habits of producing bills that need massive amendment by the government late in their progress. The drafts emerge without proper consultation. They  collide with realities late in the day when the outside world wakes up to the long list of clauses and complex language of the bill . Often bills fail to tell us the interesting details, which are left for later decision requiring secondary legislation. This can be cause for further delay and later wrangling. Of course it is wise to allow government by Statutory Instruments  to make future adjustments for things like fee and fine levels or standards  but that is no reason to avoid telling Parliament what the starting levels are when the bill goes through.
The government would be well advised to review its Rwanda Treaty and bill to make sure it is fit for purpose. They would be well advised to switch the camera from the small boats to the big economic issues where we can make more progress for more people with the right budget and with a proper growth strategy. On migration itself it is the sheer numbers now coming into the country legally  that causes problems. We would need to build three new cities the size of Southampton each year to house and serve them which worries voters who see we are not keeping up with demand. This is not feasible . Such a rate  makes it so much more difficult to resolve the shortage of housing and the length of NHS waiting lists. Showing good progress with the government’s new policy of cutting legal migration would be a good thing to put under the cameras next year rather than the issue of how many flights take off to Rwanda and when. We need to take some pressure off public services and housing, and will find many Conservative voters relieved if we reduce the overall numbers as we promised in 2019. Diluting the proposals for tackling legal migration control is not a good idea.

134 Comments

  1. Mark B
    December 22, 2023

    Good morning.

    We need to build three new cities the size of Southampton each year to house and serve them . . .

    Again I say – Why ?

    Why should we have to concrete all over this green and pleasant land to accommodate others ? Just make it illegal for foreigners to own property below £1m and deny them council housing. They can use private landlords.

    Make it illegal for them to access State provided services. They can use private healthcare and private schools. Why should we subsidise them ? I owe them nothing !

    Just like with illegal immigrants, if you create the pull factors (eg FREE STUFF) they will come.

    And as for various MP’s and their so called groupings, or ‘Splitters’ as we should call them ? Let them stand on a ticket of MASS IMMIGRATION at the next GE and the need for their constituents to stump up the cash to pay for it.

    If they think there are votes in that, good luck to them.

    1. Michelle
      December 22, 2023

      I agree with your sentiments.
      One thing I would like to see regards cleaning up politics and giving us a system we can trust, is making manifesto promises more than just promises that can then be ditched once the authors are in power.
      In a way now though, the electorate cannot use the excuse that they didn’t know X,Y or Z was lying through their back teeth when they made all those pledges to gain our vote. It has been obvious for some time with groups and individuals in politics what their remit is.

      1. Wanderer
        December 22, 2023

        +1.
        I think the Swiss system would be very useful for us plebs: “Citizens can call constitutional and legislative referendums. Legislative referendums are only possible on laws passed by the legislature. Citizens cannot initiate legislation of their own crafting through legislative referendums.” ( Wikipedia)

        1. anon
          December 27, 2023

          Many positive things in the Swiss System. Therefore it will be opposed by all means and will be chained and kneecapped incumbents via lawfare.

    2. Ian Wraggg
      December 22, 2023

      Feature on EMT last night. Many who have been fast tracked for asylum claims are homeless 28 days after application granted. The rental market is screwed, councils are going bust and you still allow thousands mainly bogus asylum seekers into the country
      When will it all end.

      1. Ian Wraggg
        December 22, 2023

        Already the £38k watered down to £29k with no intention of ever increasing it when sir kneelalot takes over.
        Why should we trust you.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 22, 2023

          +1

      2. glen cullen
        December 22, 2023

        GB News reporting today that Border Force at Luton airport said on their passenger exit data that asylum seekers where traveling home for christmas ….you can’t make it up

        1. Mickey Taking
          December 22, 2023

          will any boat people want to go home too? Would volunteers assemble at Dover beaches to assist them into dinghys and give them a hearty shove off with the tide!

          1. glen cullen
            December 22, 2023

            These include the boat people, (those still with passports) and they’re returning after the holidays
            I believe the document scam is that you leave France without your documents and get them sent to the UK for your collection later without knowledge of the authorities …those naught asylum seekers

          2. Margaret
            December 24, 2023

            No but make safer vessels for their return with food and clothing.

      3. Diane
        December 22, 2023

        Ian W: Some are trying to go home for Christmas. As reported in the Daily Express today. ‘Asylum Seekers stopped at airport trying to leave Britain & go home for the holidays ‘
        Border Force conducts outbound checks during Christmas time & apparently and seem to know which destinations to target: ” …… we do find a lot of people who have claimed asylum in this country and are heading back to their home country for holidays which obviously is not allowed ”
        Lets have some statistics on that one.

        1. Mark
          December 22, 2023

          Clearly it should be allowed for them to go home, but their details (including biometrics) should preclude any future claim of asylum or right of re-entry. It is voluntary repatriation.

    3. Donna
      December 22, 2023

      Agreed.

      The French are restricting welfare for immigrants and we should do the same. Nothing “free” until you’ve been here and paid into the system for five years, including social housing.

    4. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      Agree – what happened to the new law where every illegal crossing was to be identified as a ‘criminal’ ….have any been taken to court and detained ?

    5. Chris S
      December 22, 2023

      Well said.
      We obviously cannot afford to provide all the necessary services for 700,000 extra people a year, so why are we allowing them in?
      Where in the South of England can we build three new Southamptons ?

      The indigenous population should always come first. The government should have to demonstrate that they have provided the infrastructure for every net incoming migrant before the number to be allowed in is agreed. Inevitably the burden has to fall on their employers who should be charged the full cost before a visa is issued.

  2. Lifelogic
    December 22, 2023

    “The Prime Minister asked for unity before Christmas“ but unity marching behind Sunak is all the party marching in the wrong direction. Wrong on net zero & energy, not even really attempting to cut immigration, vast government spending & largely wasted, still increasing taxes, still borrowing hugely, still rigging markets in EV cars, heat pumps, education, energy, healthcare, the over regulation of everything… now the diluting legal migration wage levels to further undercut existing workers wages, wrong on over restrictive planning and house building.

    What exactly has Sunak got right? inflation has reduced a bit but he and his choice Andrew Bailey at the BoE caused all this high inflation with his QE, lockdowns, daft energy policies and vast tax & government waste policies.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 22, 2023

      In the Times – Wood-burning stoves should come with health warning labels and councils should be empowered to ban their use on polluted days, according to a report backed by more than 100 Tory MPs.

      Yet more top down red tape to further push up the costs and the inconvenience of heating your home? Cannot have people burning their own wood can we, all wood should (idiotically) be burned at official places like Drax where circa 70%+ of the heat energy is wasted in the cooling towers and importing & drying the wood. The other 30% making electricity if you are lucky. Hugely inefficient and environmentally rather absurd.

      I assume garden fires and bonfire night will be banned too very soon.

      1. Chris S
        December 22, 2023

        We run our wood burner on pallets discarded by local firms who are only too pleased to let us take them away. One pallet lasts a whole evening and takes just 4 minutes to cut up with my electric jigsaw.
        This saves a lot of gas because, although we have a gas Aga for cooking and heating the kitchen through the winter, we hardly have to run the boiler.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 22, 2023

          Ah but if you chop it manually it warms you twice. Though technically it is the food you eat that is then warming you!

      2. Hope
        December 22, 2023

        Hang on Tory party MPs acted against its members who rejected Snake and Hunt! Why should they be supported by anyone, arrogant pigs spring to mind.

    2. Michelle
      December 22, 2023

      It is very irritating to hear talk of unity or the shuffling around of faces when none of that benefits the electorate, because the fundamental trajectory of the party and its policies are heading, as you say, in the wrong direction.
      When the actions don’t match the promises given, more unity within the party is the least of my concerns.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2023

        Exactly, first we need a leader with a working compass. Not one with one 180 degrees out and thus hugely unpopular as Sunak is and with with his four out of five broken promises.

        Not just “broken” but Sunak is clearly not even really trying to stop the boats or to reduce immigration, nor to fix the NHS waiting lists (up hugely), nor to get any growth (his vast tax levels, big government and net zero agenda kills growth as does low skilled open door immigration in PEr Cap terms), nor to reduce government debt (Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks (borrowing) in November 2023 was £14.3 billion the fourth highest November borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.) Judge me on my results I think he said!

        1. Hope
          December 22, 2023

          Snake needs ousting ASAP. All polls show he is not wanted by anyone or from any party! Tory party MPs do not have the courage to do what is right by the electorate. Get in opposition you are done. You had 14 yrs and a 85 seat majority to act on your manifesto and your party CHOSE to lie, deceive and act against everything you all stood for to get elected.

          N.Ireland is a classic example. Abandon part of our country and force both N.I and GB to act in lock step to EU rather than get Brexit done. Give away billions to corrupt Ukraine but not a cross word over Northern Ireland!!

          Call an election.

          1. Lifelogic
            December 22, 2023

            Indeed but Starmer and Labour even worse.

    3. Ed M
      December 22, 2023

      The Tories don’t have anyone else. There’s no choice. Either Sunak or the socialists. One way to solve this dire problem of lack of talent in the Tory Party is to attract higher quality candidates. That should be number 1 priority at Tory Conference. Not easy but at least begin to make an effort to figure out.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2023

        When Major buried the party with his ERM fiasco (and not even any apology) it was nearly 20 years before the Tories got a full majority again with the dire Cameron. Major, Blair & Brown were all disasters. Sunak’s burial looks like it will be even deeper still. Yet the country is crying out for sensible non socialist real Conservative policies of tax cuts, regulation cuts, immigration cuts, net zero abandonment, cheap reliable energy.

        There must be only about 80 safe Tory seats currently thanks to unelected as leader Sunak and his absurd decision to bring back Cameron – hopefully including JR’s seat.

        1. Ed M
          December 23, 2023

          I agree a lot with what you say. You talk a lot of sense (and same for John Redwood). But I think a lot more is needed than just effective politics. Conservatism also has to be a cultural movement involving people in the churches (or humanist organisations if you don’t believe in God), schools and universities, arts communities and people in the media in order to restore traditional Conservative values such as work ethic, responsibility for self, depending on family instead of state, patriotism, men being men and women being women, love of arts, safety net for the vulnerable etc, and so on.

          In fact, 90% of what makes a country great is CULTURAL values – not politics (although of course politics vital too). And taxes would tumble. With barely a squeak from voters.

          Some Tories agree with me here but we need more Tories talking about this. This is why I keep banging on about this (and not easy to achieve cultural change here, I agree, but we have to try). And why we also have to attract higher quality Tory MPs to Parliament with good business experience (again, not easy, but we have to try). Etc .. Merry Xmas.

      2. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2023

        But Sunak is a command economy, big government, climate alarmist, tax to death, borrow, currency debase, net zero hypocrite & socialist. Just not quite as bad as Starmer and Labour.

        1. Ed M
          December 23, 2023

          I understand what you’re saying. But have you considered Sunak is trying to tackle the mess slowly from the outside and then to move inwards (becoming more right-wing if you like) as people get more used to him and he has more successes here and there – something like that. The guy has a HUGE task on his hands to get things in order. At least he has some good business experience and is a hard worker. Give him time, and be might become more of the leader you want.

    4. Atlas
      December 22, 2023

      Agreed. If you ditch an elected Leader and replace her with an unelected one then it does not come as a great surprise that he is viewed as a puppet of others.

    5. graham1946
      December 22, 2023

      Sunak had a damned cheek asking for loyalty after what he did to Boris and the party.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2023

        Boris and Truss too. The credit problems, after the Truss/Kwasi budget, were not really caused by them in their few days in office. The problems were caused/set up by Sunak with tax, borrow, print money, lockdown and waste Chancellor and by the incompetent BoE. The Kwasi budget was merely the last straw that finally triggered the collapse in confidence helped by yet further BoE gross incompetence.

        Rather clever of Sunak to, quite wrongly, pin the blame on Truss.

        1. graham1946
          December 23, 2023

          Yeah, but there would have been no Truss imbroglio or the collapse if Sunak had supported Boris like he should have. Billions he cost us in high taxes, inflation, no growth etc. He’s a total incompetent, but still the idiot MP’s voted for him after the party rejected him. Just shows the quality of the dross infesting the HoC. Election cannot come soon enough. Don’t care about the result anymore, just need to get the Tories out and as many MP’s as possible out of work.

  3. Lifelogic
    December 22, 2023

    Some Telegraph writer on the Planet Normal podcast (Con Coughlin or Tim Stanley I think) described Sunak as the most right wing leader since Thatcher. But even Thatcher failed to cut the size of government anything like sufficiently, fail to get free and fair competition in healthcare, educations… fell for climate alarmism, fell for the ERM as a step to the Euro,

    Nothing remotely right wing about tax to death command economy rigged markets Sunak. What on earth possessed him to dig up lefty, green crap, EUfile dope Lord Cameron of Greensill Libya as Foreign Secretary? Political insanity surely?

    1. Ed M
      December 22, 2023

      Conservatism is not the same as right-wingism. That’s a modern, secular political heresy borrowed, to an important degree, from the USA – a country whose people are emotionally and culturally and socially seriously screwed up from one degree to another.
      If those Tories who love the USA and its right-wingism actually spent some time there they’d be quickly on the plane back to Blighty. The USA, whichever class you look at – and its politicians, is not too far removed from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2023

        Right-wing is very vague but if by right-wing you mean small government, freedom, liberty, low taxes, law and order, freedom to choose, efficient public services… then, certainly in my lifetime, very little sign of this from the Conservatives. Even under Thatcher not very much.

        1. Ed M
          December 23, 2023

          I pretty much agree with you. But I do NOT like America as an example of what we should aim for (some / a lot of Tories seem to love USA). I love England despite all our problems. And always glad to get back to London where I live – even after a great holiday abroad.

    2. formula57
      December 22, 2023

      @ Lifelogic – allegedly, the original plan involved William Hague rather than Cameron but Hague declined, proposing Cameron instead. If at all true, it seems no-one rechecked the idea to see if it still made any (but not much) sense at all with a switch of personalities.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 22, 2023

        It is surely a disaster politically to resurrect Cameron. He is disliked by remainers and Brexiteers alike. He has his appalling Greensill scandal issues (surely even worse than Baroness Mone’s), an appalling mess he left in Libya, is full of green crap, tried to rig the referendum vote (with Osborne’s idiotic threats of doom) and in an act of gross (criminal?) negligence he failed to prepare for a leave outcome and then pathetically abandoned ship like a spoiled child.

  4. Clough
    December 22, 2023

    SJR, you say ‘The civil service often draft bills that do not properly reflect the original aim of the Ministers’. So why do Ministers not send them back for redrafting until they do?

    1. David Andrews
      December 22, 2023

      Exactly. This reveals the civil service is out of control.

      1. Mickey Taking
        December 23, 2023

        I keep thinking it is they who are in control!

    2. Sharon
      December 22, 2023

      @Clough – that’s a very good question… why don’t ministers send bills back for a re-write to reflect their instructions? Is that they fear being called a bully or similar?

    3. matthu
      December 22, 2023

      They presumably redraft them to comply with ECHR and Net zero considerations…

    4. Berkshire Alan
      December 22, 2023

      +1
      Would seem like common sense.!

      But Then ……..

  5. Lemming
    December 22, 2023

    Thank you for this. I am delighted to see that a post referring to the need for unity in the Conservative Party quickly moves to sniping and sneering at one particular group of Conservatives, One Nation. Clearly your party has long ago given up on running the country, and is interested only in fighting amongst yourselves. Would you please give the country what it needs and deserves, a General Election

    1. Sea_Warrior
      December 22, 2023

      A general election now would result in a Labour government that would drive this country over a cliff – but I can see how that would appeal to a lemming.

      1. IanT
        December 22, 2023

        I’m afraid you are right SW, it’s not an appealing prospect.

        But how do we give these people a good kick in the pants otherwise?

      2. Chris S
        December 22, 2023

        LOL!

        1. Sea_Warrior
          December 23, 2023

          It’s the way I tell ’em! 🙂

  6. Lifelogic
    December 22, 2023

    In the Telegraph today – surely well past time to leave the ECHR?

    How Joe Biden gave green light to Ireland for Troubles ambush. The president is fiercely proud of his Irish roots and gave his personal blessing for Dublin’s legal challenge against immunity legislation.
    James Crisp,

    1. Bingle
      December 22, 2023

      I thought I had read that Mr Biden’s English roots are stronger than his Irish ones?

      Does not fit the profile though if true.

      1. Chris S
        December 22, 2023

        Biden’s father was English, but there are no votes for being of English extraction!
        But there are millions of US voters who like to claim a tenuous connection with Eire.

        1. Bingle
          December 22, 2023

          Thank you.

      2. graham1946
        December 22, 2023

        No votes in English roots in America. They have a dewy eyed romantic view of the IRA and are on the whole totally ignorant of anything that goes on outside their country.

        1. Mickey Taking
          December 22, 2023

          the 4th and 3rd generation Irish in the US still believe the old people live in the grotty tumbledown hovel persecuted by the ‘wealthy ‘ Lord of the Manor, in tweeds and driving the latest Land Rover with a gun-dog sat in the passenger seat.

      3. MFD
        December 22, 2023

        Possibly are , but that is easily ignored, sounds better for an IRA terror supporter

  7. DOM
    December 22, 2023

    Your party believes that a man can become a woman simply because a man says he’s a woman and has passed laws to confirm it. That’s critical theory in a nutshell. There is nothing left to say.

    A zombie party without soul, principle or decency.

    The woke fascist Left under the Labour umbrella now control Britain and they will destroy Britain and our freedoms using all the tactics at their disposal when they come to power.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 22, 2023

      Seems rather too likely alas.

    2. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      I wonder which tory group lobby to reduce the immigrant combined income from £38k to £29k …..never trust a tory ….is fracking on or off this week, are heat-pumps still going ahead or not ….the party, the government are in a mess

    3. Frances
      December 22, 2023

      One is asked to pain score because no one can know someone elses experience by looking at them. That is what you are claiming that you can look at someone and “know” what they experience. So if yjou were in agony people should say dont be a sissy?

  8. Javelin
    December 22, 2023

    The Government had already backtracked on the income level and bringing family members to the UK. The Telegraph is reporting immigration will be even higher next year.

    To say the Conservative Party is doomed is an understatement.

    1. Sharon
      December 22, 2023

      And the country, Javelin! We’re all doomed with any of our current leadership options!

      1. Mitchel
        December 22, 2023

        Or any imaginable options.We are well past the point of no return on the road to the dustbin of history.

    2. Nigl
      December 22, 2023

      Yes. Sunak once again can’t be trusted. Says what he thinks we want to hear but doesn’t mean a word of it.

      1. MFD
        December 22, 2023

        Yes ! just like leftie Stammer ! We need a root and branch clear out, to make that first move vote ReformUK.

    3. Berkshire Alan
      December 22, 2023

      Javelin

      Yep another “U” turn, are any of us surprised.?
      And they say they wish to curtail immigration, Really !

    4. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      Differing groups = Differing policies

    5. Mark
      December 22, 2023

      Digging through the numbers I found there were 335,447 work visas, 104,501 Graduate route extensions and 250,297 visas for their dependents. For students there were 486,107 sponsored study visas, bring in 152,980 dependents.
      Family-related visas relate to persons wishing to live with family members who are British citizens or non-British settled migrants in the UK as part of their family. It also includes people wishing to join a relative with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK, but no separate data are given for this. 82,395 family visas were granted, significantly tilted towards South Asian countries. In addition 22,675 EU settlement scheme permits were issued to dependents.

      All dependent routes have seen big increases. It is unclear whether the income limit is intended to apply to all of them. Students would not be expected to earn even the £18k previous requirement for example.

  9. Lifelogic
    December 22, 2023

    One Nation Tories are really No Nation Tories, they want to be ruled by unelected anti-democratic EU bureaucrats.

    An election now would give us Starmer with a huge Labour majority. This would be even worse than Sunak’s green crap, tax to death socialism. The last thing the country needs or deserves. Starmer might well be kicked out too post election for an even more left wing Labour leader. But even Starmer, as Peter Hitchens often explains, is far more left wing than people think.

    1. Dave Andrews
      December 22, 2023

      If the Conservatives are voted back in, it will just prolong the delusion of CCHQ that liberal left policies and candidates are the way to go. If Labour get in, we will just get a continuation of the same liberal left agenda, but at least a good deal of votes haemorrhaged to Reform may prompt Conservative members to reclaim their party.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        December 22, 2023

        short term pain for long term gain

        1. Mickey Taking
          December 23, 2023

          somebody lied about the long term gain!

    2. Ian B
      December 22, 2023

      @Lifelogic +1 they want the UK ruled period. by anyone not elected or resposonsible so that they cant say not me

  10. Sea_Warrior
    December 22, 2023

    How nice to see the Berne FSA signed yesterday – a real achievement for post-Brexit Britain, and this troubled government. Will you be commenting on it, Sir John? And will Sunak and Hunt be making their counterparts across the Commons floor comment on it, I wonder?

  11. BOF
    December 22, 2023

    Groupings. They are so busy debating/arguing among themselves that they fail dismally to serve the interests of country or constituency.

    No sooner were the rules on legal migration ‘toughened up’ than they were relaxed again, so the mass migration grouping won!

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      Is there a pro/con ULEZ group ?

      1. Mickey Taking
        December 22, 2023

        well there is a con group – usually known as ‘motorists’.
        The pro group usually known as ‘priviledged *ankers’.

  12. Philip P.
    December 22, 2023

    If these different groups within the Conservative party debate with each other, and follow the approach that wins the argument, your party must have a majority of MPs in favour of large-scale migration. As you say, Sir John, that leads to a housing shortage and longer NHS waiting lists. So the majority of your MP colleagues appear to be in favour of those outcomes too. Or at least they don’t care that that is what’s happening. That being so, I can’t see myself voting for your party, I’m afraid.

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      Isn’t there a single set of questions, a questionnaire to determine that a potential parliament conservative candidate is made from the right stuff, has the same views as the party and leadership ?

      1. Mickey Taking
        December 23, 2023

        The demand is simply that you obey the PM and Cabinet. Simple. Brain or views are not required.

        1. glen cullen
          December 23, 2023

          but the PM is left-wing and the membership right-wing

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    December 22, 2023

    While it is important that those bringing a spouse into this country should be able to support them the salary level is a red herring. No recourse to public funds or support should suffice in this instance. Claims for Council housing, any benefits, schooling, health for a family should include questions about origins and nationality and awards adjusted by 50% or more accordingly.

    The real determiner of whether a spouse can be brought into this country to stay should be whether or not the sponsor is a British citizen or a naturalised British citizen. Naturalised British citizens should not be allowed to bring in spouses or other family members only those born here of British parents should have that right.

    If naturalised British citizens wish to live here then the dating pool here should suffice.

    1. Peter Parsons
      December 22, 2023

      No recourse to public funds is already a condition of such visas at the current income levels.

      On top of that, they have to pay the annual NHS surcharge as well as the visa fees. For 5 years, that will come to about £8,000 per individual with the planned increase in the NHS surcharge.

      1. A-tracy
        December 24, 2023

        Is the NHS surcharge being billed though Peter?
        How much in total £ is charged for this on the half a million legal immigrants to the NHS?
        What number of the 65 million on NHS waiting lists are immigrants with less than five years in the UK, I believe we should be told these figures, have people been arriving with ready made serious health problems? What % of those waiting?
        What % is rebilled on the global health card, why aren’t they moved to private hospital wings of NHS hospitals that can rebill all the accurate and true figures of treatment cost to their Country of origin as we are billed by Spain, France and others with better billing procedures freeing up free slots for British citizens to get their operations more timely and people repaired at the cost of their insurance or own Country of origin.

        1. Peter Parsons
          December 24, 2023

          The NHS Surcharge is billed at the time a visa application is submitted. The Home Office won’t consider an application without it.

      2. anon
        December 27, 2023

        No recourse to public funds, in what number and % of cases is that enforced? before extenuating circumstamce interevene.

        And does recourse to public funds cover all goods and services rendered using taxpayer funds directly or indirectly.

        Remember you cannot believe anything stated at face value.

        Even when asked questions directly they do not seek to answer but always to align to a narrative.

  14. Michelle
    December 22, 2023

    Why for so long has the Conservative party been utterly spineless in the face of mainstream media. I ask this in response to the first part of the article and the press reporting of disunity.
    There is little to no fight against the clearly liberal left wing agenda of mainstream, and anyone with even an ounce of Conservatism is ambushed on the so called upmarket current affairs shows.
    The Conservatives could at least have done something about the BBC.
    I believe Farage mentioned the Conservatives wanting to be liked by the Guardian types. Well look at the result of that!!
    How strange we now have a party likely to come to power after years in the wilderness because of their mass immigration project, their chipping away at our free speech, our culture and a party that allowed the incidents of Rotherham plus all the others. The Conservatives even broke the Red Wall for heavens sake!! Now look at where they are, more hated than Labour especially by those they tried to court, who will never give them a fair hearing.
    I think the Guardian types have truly won the day and taken over the party as they have all our institutions.

  15. Lester_Cynic
    December 22, 2023

    LL
    Well said. You hit the nail on the head as usual!

  16. Old Albion
    December 22, 2023

    So the Conservative party/Gov. is not a useless rabble with no idea how to run the country to the benefit of it’s (legal) citizens. What a relief ………………..

  17. Mickey Taking
    December 22, 2023

    Lots of rat families fighting over rotten scraps.
    It won’t be long before they find they have eaten the poison carried into the nests.

  18. Donna
    December 22, 2023

    “On migration itself it is the sheer numbers now coming into the country legally that causes problems.”

    Only a few days ago, in response to the appalling legal immigration figures (3 million in just two years) the Nasty Little Spiv told us that the income threshold for entry would be raised to £38,000 pa.

    Today, the news reports that it will only be raised to £29,000 pa ….. considerably less than the average annual salary.

    And they wonder why Conservative/conservative voters are deserting the Party.

    1. Ian B
      December 22, 2023

      @Donna – hello, can I correct you there, it is the Conservative Government that has deserted the Conservative voter, disenfranchised the backbone of the UK in pursuit of a Socialist WEF Doctrine

    2. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      This tory government doesn’t fear the voter …it fears the media

  19. Berkshire Alan
    December 22, 2023

    The problem you have John is that more than 100 Conservative Mp’s always have to vote with any government policy under the so called shared responsibility label of holding a government position, think at the last count it was 120 members.
    Thus if there was only a marginal majority on a policy in cabinet, then all ministers and lower government ranks still have to all vote for it in the commons, or resign (even if they voted against it in cabinet). That is not really true democracy.

  20. John McDonald
    December 22, 2023

    Sir John your History of conservative groups appears just to be a distraction for what has happened. Which is putting of a conservative defeat of the bill until the New Year.
    In the unlikely event that the Rwanda Bill succeeds the estimate maximum number of illegal immigrants transported to Rwanda is 400 per year. This roughly speaking a 1 in 100 chance
    of someone arriving in a small boat being deported. Do you think that will really put people off risking their lives to illegally enter the UK?
    Just more Political games to fool the voter into thinking the Government is doing something to stop the small boats.
    To leave the ECHR takes a bit of leadership and responsibility. Signing cheques to keep wars going in other countries is a lot more easier especially if it is the tax payers money.
    What would happen if MP’s pay had a negative bonus element and each time tax payers money was spent outside the UK their total pay was reduced. Just a thought.

    1. Ian B
      December 22, 2023

      @John McDonald Kowtowing to the ECHR is the kicking democracy in the teeth, if our own Legislators are not up to creating, amending, repealing UK Laws rules and regulations that we live by they shouldn’t be there. It was the only job they have been empowered and paid to do, then they should resign.

  21. Bloke
    December 22, 2023

    Groups within parties =hould pull together toward the direction they agree is right, steering the Party as a whole properly.

  22. Pleb007
    December 22, 2023

    Cons do themselves no favours do they ?
    Haze on Today prog
    I, me yes I have the answer
    Get em off benefits.
    Didn’t the ” I have a little list ” guy
    have this brilliant idea a long, long time ago
    before the internet enabled the lid to be lifted
    on the peccadilloes, second jobs and expenses.
    all legal but which have caused utter, utter contempt .

  23. formula57
    December 22, 2023

    “Diluting the proposals for tackling legal migration control is not a good idea” – indeed, one would have thought so.

    Meanwhile, today’s Times newspaper tells us “Sunak climbs down on income threshold for spouse visas
    Planned limit of £38,700 to bring in dependants cut to £29,000”.

    1. Peter Parsons
      December 22, 2023

      Do you think that refusing visa renewals to those who are already here legally, thus potentially splitting up families when one half of a married couple finds that they have lost their right to reside in the UK, is a good thing to do?

      That was the impact of the original proposals. Not exactly family friendly from the supposed party of the family.

      1. Peter Parsons
        December 22, 2023

        I see it also reported that the new thresholds will now not apply to anyone already here completely legally on the existing levels and thresholds.

        A sensible reversal, although why anybody thought that changing the rules in the way that was proposed for people already here was a good idea is beyond me.

    2. Mickey Taking
      December 22, 2023

      Now a backtrack again. The £38k will be introduced some time in 2025 – – – you know by the Labour Party.

  24. Ian B
    December 22, 2023

    Why Grouping’s at all? To me an MP either serves those that elected them or they don’t, MPs are either Conservative or they are not.
    Political posturing as we see in the UK is a religion, and as it was famously said by a US Congressman religion is for those with no self-belief.
    In an ideal World democracy is best served without political gangs. Like all gangs they become the thugs. Democracy is served best in its simplest form, communities select their own candidates, then the communities get to elect which of those from that pool will serve them the best. Likewise, the money for these campaigns should only ever be derived from within the community to be represented.
    Then in hope we get those in Parliament that are there to serve, their community, their country.
    As we have seen in recent days within the Conservative Party, CCHQ is trying to manipulate who they personally think the candidates should be – another version of blocking democracy.
    It is shameful that a large noisy section of our Parliament doesn’t want democracy, doesn’t want to serve those that empowered them – they simply want rule, rule to pander to their personal self-serving interest.
    I would guess that the majority of the UK’s electorate is not for the most part interested in the groupings, they simply want democracy, they want people that defend democracy, freedoms and a sovereign Parliament. They are let down by this Government as they come over as a bunch of self-serving bullies that just want to rule and not serve.

  25. formula57
    December 22, 2023

    The previous limit of £18,600 was set in July 2012 and never increased which shows the government’s disregard. The Sunak proposals originally applied to those previously admitted but renewing visas which seemed harsh and so it is fair that his rethink exempts that group. Recall also that arrivals by dinghy by-pass all these requirements.

  26. agricola
    December 22, 2023

    You and others often describe the conservative party as a broad church. As it would seem to cover everthing from paganism to zen buddism you are possibly correct. I would contend that there are at most 100 true Conservatives within this grouping. The balance being a pick and mix disparate collection who could thrive equally well with the Lib/Dems or Starmers rabble.
    As such these consocialists are not fit to govern, witness the rowback on legal migration. They are absolute patsies for outside undemocratic control, be it globalist bodies, big industry, or our own civil service.
    You, mistakenly in excusing the party to which you belong, think that with the application of logical argument you can guide it to being truely Conservative once more. Wrong, as you confirm, the party is fragmented. With respect, because I do not doubt your integrity, the party is beyond redemption. Conservatism is a phylosophy, a way of thinking. You are a believer or not. Currently the phylosophy resides in Reform and up to 100 MPs of your party who are in the wrong place if you hope to do anything positive for the UK and its citizens. Give it serious thought, Ann Widdicombe did and she is nobodys patsy.

  27. glen cullen
    December 22, 2023

    Your party welcomes a broadchurch of views to satisfy the media, international bodies and the opposite
    Your own party members welcome a focus policy & strategy with detrimined leadership
    Many groups = split party

    1. formula57
      December 22, 2023

      It has always been thus, shown vividly yet again by Yes Minister where Sir Ian Whitworth, a Sir Humprhey Appleby colleague, told us, “It would be different if the government were a team, but in fact they are a loose confederation of warring tribes”.

      1. glen cullen
        December 22, 2023

        Very True

  28. Ian B
    December 22, 2023

    As always with this very un-Conservative personal self-interest Government. “Senior figures warned that ministers must clarify the situation ‘very quickly’ after slipping out news that the minimum income for bringing a foreign relative to Britain will only rise to £29,000 rather than the £38,700 previously suggested.”
    Another double take, on the deflection and soundbite not fitting in with the realities of a dictators rule..

  29. forthurst
    December 22, 2023

    Which Tory grouping is in favour of a reform of the electoral system? What legitimacy can a governing party have with support from only a third of the electorate? Many of those who would like to stand for parliament with any real chance of success cannot because they are not acceptable to the party’s financial backers or they regard the liblabcon as a treasonous bunch of incompetents who do nothing but weaken our country and make the lives of our citizens ever worse. This is what the Tories have been doing for thirteen years and what the Labour party intends to do when they are duly elected.

    1. Peter Parsons
      December 22, 2023

      A third of the electorate? Not even that?

      It’s little more than a third of those who bothered to vote which, given that FPTP voting has lower levels of turnout (millions know their vote is worthless under FPTP, so don’t bother). As a share of the registered electorate, it’s been less than 25% for some governments.

  30. Christine
    December 22, 2023

    “We need to build three new cities the size of Southampton each year to house and serve them which worries voters who see we are not keeping up with demand.”

    You are so wrong with this statement. The more houses you build the more people will come. What voters want is a reduction in the number of visas plus a stop to the small boats. Following his tough-talking last week Sunak has already caved in on the minimum wage amount. I’m afraid your party is doomed. All self-inflicted by design.

    Reply I am not recommending it! I am strongly in favour of fewer migrants!

    1. glen cullen
      December 22, 2023

      Sunak plan to stop the boats – Give every illegal a visa and a free ferry ticket

    2. iain gill
      December 23, 2023

      I see the papers are reporting that the reason the PM has slowed down the action against illegal immigration is because the OBR warned that it would reduce the scope for tax cuts.
      You really couldnt make this stuff up.
      See the article by Edward Malnick in the Sunday Telegraph.

  31. Bert+Young
    December 22, 2023

    Without a dynamic and combined thrust the Conservative Party has lost out . The various groupings that Sir John refers to all indicate that there is no way forward that is likely to unite them ; voters are dismayed that their Government have made so many mistakes that they look to new beginnings for their lives to be improved and secured . The Labour Party is also an exposed shambles an offers no practical alternative , so , where and what else ?. Is it any surprise that figures from the past are now emerging ?.

  32. Ian B
    December 22, 2023

    In the round we have come to expect that Conservative believes in a strong resilient country and its economy, they also believe in the small state and light touch government. Traditionally a Conservative Government has managed and has control of expenditure.
    None of the above has been seen in the last 13years, it doesn’t even compute for those in this rag tag BoJo Cabinet of a Government run by the Sunak/Hunt team.
    There was always a tradition of Common/English Law not as now Napoleonic rules-based dictators.
    There is not a single Conservative trait that can be applied in today’s Government, all we have had under the last 13 years of rule is a continuation of the Blair/Brown WEF doctrine of the ‘great reset’. Blair and his acolyte Cameron still command the World Stage as representing the UK
    Just as with the UK’s resilience and self-reliance the notion of Democracy has been consigned to the dustbin in the mins of these self-serving rulers.
    The next election is not about Conservative or Labour, Left or more Left, good, great quality MPs that serve, but about do we support this self-serving Sunak/Hunt team as our ‘Rulers’
    So the factions if true in what is left of a rag-bag Conservative Party is really the death throws of Democracy not able to get out and show its head.

  33. Christine
    December 22, 2023

    The Globalists are picking off those who speak out against their agenda one by one. They are like a pack of hunting dogs who carve out the weakest from the herd one by one then destroy them with their bogus unproven allegations. The only justice in this country is reserved for the very rich like Prince Harry and the very poor who qualify for legal aid. For the vast majority of the populous justice is inaccessible. The brave few who come under these attacks tend to lose everything and where are their friends and colleagues? Nowhere to be seen. You so-called Spartans and Brexiteers are a disgrace not speaking out about the many injustices we see today. The scales of justice had her blindfold removed years ago but these brave people who speak out will be on the right side of history when we look back on how our great country was destroyed from within.

  34. George Sheard
    December 22, 2023

    Hi sir John
    So we have given France a richer country and a member if the EU over half a BILLION POUNDS to stop immigrants
    The French are still going nothing sending their problems to us and getting payed big time and we still pay our doctors a decent wage we still have thousands living on the streets while criminals are being housed fed and paid to walk free in our give away country WE NEED A REVOLUTION IN THIS COUNTRY
    we need to protest like Palestinians who are living in a safe country

  35. George Sheard
    December 22, 2023

    Correction previous message
    We still can’t pay our doctors a decent wage

  36. XY
    December 22, 2023

    It is not “healthy” to have a church so broad that the groupings include people with views that belong in another party. The so-called One Nation group are one example – they are liberals on social matters and socialists on economics. They should be somewhere else. They infiltrated to move the Tory party to the left.

    I notice that as the election draws closer, our host becomes more pro-party.

  37. Ralph Corderoy
    December 22, 2023

    ‘There was the NTB… committed to lower taxes and controlled spending.’

    I didn’t know what NTB meant. Neither may other readers here. It’s ‘No turning back’, familiar from ‘not for turning’. Sir John has chaired it in the past: ‘I chair the NTB group’ — https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2014/10/17/ntb-lunch-with-the-prime-minister/

  38. XY
    December 22, 2023

    I see the government has backed down on its proposal to introduce an earnings threshold of £38,700 for foreign workers who want to bring family to the UK. It will now rise to £29,000, from the current £18,200.

    Yet another announcement, reaping the rewards of the fanfare surrounding it, then quietly backing off when it comes to implementing it. The same as with the relaxation of the 2030 target, all he did was stretch the fines thinner between 2024 and 2035.

    Sleight of hand won’t win an election. if anything it will further alienate the core Conservative voter of the past.

  39. iain gill
    December 22, 2023

    Why are the Conservatives not making a bigger deal of Sue Gray and her new role?

  40. Denis Cooper
    December 22, 2023

    Off topic, I have a letter in the Belfast News Letter, as follows:

    “Why should others be forced to live under retained EU law to pander to the Irish government?”

    Roderick Crawford writes that “alignment with limited EU law is required to avoid a hard border on the island of I”reland and protect the single market; this was agreed in December 2017″ (Roderick Crawford: The reality is that UK law – not EU law – remains dominant in Northern Ireland, December 15).

    Yes, because the Irish government adopted an absurd, extreme and intransigent position, and EU supporting Tory Prime Minister Theresa May found it convenient to cave into their demands.

    Since then it has transpired that goods carried across the land border can if necessary be checked by the Republic on their side, at sites away from the border, without reigniting terrorism.

    And not only Northern Ireland, why should all businesses and individual citizens in Great Britain be forced to live under retained EU law in perpetuity to pander to the Irish government?

    Moreover, why should we allow Northern Ireland to become a wide open back door for possibly defective goods driven in from the Republic to pass on unchecked into Great Britain?”

  41. Iago
    December 22, 2023

    ‘ We would need to build three new cities the size of Southampton each year to house and serve them which worries voters who see we are not keeping up with demand. ‘
    That’s one way of describing the in reality nation-destroying situation or rather deliberate policy!

  42. formula57
    December 22, 2023

    O/T – Re. the economy, two days ago we saw a steep inflation fall and today we see Q3 GDP revised to a contraction, all as you predicted months ago when explaining policy errors. Shouldn’t the Bank governor and the Chancellor now both resign?

  43. glen cullen
    December 22, 2023

    Just had my house insurance renewal – why am I paying £122 for insurance premium tax …the tory thieving robbing barstewards
    Couldn’t the tories start a ‘low-tax’ group

    1. Lifelogic
      December 22, 2023

      Indeed there was no IPT under Thatcher. It has now crept up to 12% on nearly all insurance policies. Also affects businesses as it is not VAT they cannot recover it so have to charge their customers.

      My rule of thumb is if you can avoid insurance do not bother (unless you know you are a high risk and can get a normal premium). If you legally have to insure then take a large excess to cut the premium down. Much of the money you pay is going in insurance company overheads and their profits, the IPT tax, fraudulent claims from crooks, regulation costs… When you claim for something small they usually just up your premium for the next few years to recover the losses anyway.

      1. glen cullen
        December 23, 2023

        or get our tory government to STOP taxing everything

    2. Mickey Taking
      December 23, 2023

      try shopping around – renewals are always the worst deal.

      1. glen cullen
        December 23, 2023

        Its not the cost of insurance …..its the robinhood tax …..I can’t shop around to reduce tax as all the main parties have the same tax policy

  44. The Prangwizard
    December 22, 2023

    Another propaganda piece telling us all how lovely his party is no matter how it is made up of groups that oppose each other.

    And as for the government which despises all the constituents and has no intention of doing what the country needs, only what they think is good for themselves.

    The author will of course support it no matter what actions it takes or how much it deceives lies and neglects us. He dare not depart from it. He has said he does not wish to be lonely. So principle is not his motivation, just selfishness and protection from the real world.

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