On the first anniversary of Theresa May becoming the new Conservative Party leader, the Liberal Democrats have revealed twenty policies her government has U-turned on over the last year.
These include recent U-turns on fox-hunting, the Dementia Tax and hiking taxes for self-employed workers.
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael said:
“When she became Conservative leader, Theresa May promised to unite her party and country. She has succeeded in doing the very opposite.
“One year and twenty U-turns on, her government is in chaos and our country has been left more deeply divided than ever.
“We have seen a U-turn from this government every 18 days. At this rate soon there won’t be any Conservative policies left to abandon.
“The only unity that Theresa May has brought is that the whole country now wants her to go.”
Twenty U-turns since Theresa May became Conservative Party leader
- Northern Powerhouse: It was reported last August that Theresa May had decided to ditch the Northern Powerhouse from her plans for an industrial strategy (link), she later back-tracked and made clear she was fully behind it (link)
- EU nationals: Theresa May reversed her stance towards EU citizens living in Britain, after her rivals accused her of treating them as “bargaining chips” in exit negotiations (link)
- Hinkley Point: The PM paused the deal around Hinkley Point – but then unpaused it with almost nothing changed (link)
- Foreign doctors: Theresa May appeared to suggest foreign-born doctors will not be welcome in the United Kingdom beyond 2025 (link). The Prime Minister then backed down and admitted that foreign doctors won’t have to leave the NHS (link)
- Lists of foreign workers: Amber Rudd announced at Conservative party conference that firms should “be clear about the proportion of their workforce which is international”. Theresa May was forced to back down after the scheme was slammed by businesses and the public (link)
- Pharmacy closures: Plans to implement £170m of cuts and close thousands of local pharmacies were shelved after one million people signed a petition calling on the Government to think again (link)
- Workers on company boards: During her campaign to be leader and at the Conservative Party conference, Theresa May announced plans to force companies to appoint workers to their boards. She then confirmed the policy had been dropped, following lobbying from businesses. (link)
- Brexit White Paper: Theresa May finally agreed to publish a White Paper on Brexit only after being threatened with a rebellion by Conservative MPs. (link)
- Taking in refugee children: Theresa May announced plans to shelve the scheme to take in unaccompanied refugee children from Calais. (link)
- National Insurance rise: Plans announced in Theresa May’s first full budget as Prime Minister to hike National Insurance for self-employed workers were dropped after they were criticised for breaking the Conservative’s 2015 manifesto pledge (link)
- Holding an election: Theresa May repeatedly said she wouldn’t hold an election, arguing that it would risk the stability of the country. She then called a snap election when the polls were in her favour (link)
- The Dementia Tax: The Prime Minister was forced to U-turn on proposals to make people pay more for their care, branded as a “Dementia Tax”, within days of it being announced (link)
- Energy price cap: Theresa May had pledged a price cap on energy bills for 17 million families during the general election campaign, but the policy was missing from the Queen’s speech. Instead, the business secretary, Greg Clark, wrote to the energy regulator asking it to safeguard “customers on the poorest value tariffs”. (link)
- The European Convention on Human Rights – Theresa May was reportedly planning to make the case to leave the ECHR a central aspect of her 2020 election campaign before she called for an early election. She then confirmed the UK will remain signatories to the European Convention of Human Rights for the next Parliament. (link)
- Triple lock: Theresa May scrapped a manifesto commitment to drop the State Pension ‘triple lock’ after signing a deal with the DUP (link)
- Winter fuel payments: Conservative plans to means test winter fuel payouts were also scrapped under the party’s deal with the DUP (link)
- Grammar schools: Theresa May ditched plans to expand grammar schools from the Queens’ Speech (link)
- Free school lunches: Controversial plans set out in the Conservative manifesto to axe free school lunches and replace them with breakfasts for families on low incomes were dropped last week (link)
- Public sector pay: The Government appeared to U-turn after Downing Street suggested it was ready to abandon a 1 per cent cap on public sector pay rises, only to insist hours later that the cap remained in place. (link)
- Fox hunting: Theresa May has ditched plans to hold a parliamentary vote on bringing back fox hunting, the Government confirmed last week (link)