Conservative leadership: How will the next prime minister deal with possible Tory flashpoints?

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Politics

By Nick EardleyBBC political correspondent In a month, Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be prime minister. The two contenders for the job of PM and Conservative leader are setting out their policies and visions for the job daily.But what about policies which often split opinion among Conservative party members – who, of course, are key to winning this contest.We’ve been looking at some potential flashpoints and contested policies from the last general election manifesto. Housing targets abandoned The manifesto promised 300,000 new homes every year by the middle of the decade. But after some well publicised rows on planning, Boris Johnson had gone cold on the idea.Now, it’s clear both candidates would abandon the target. Rishi Sunak’s team say he doesn’t believe in arbitrary or top-down numbers. He wants to deliver progress on delivering more homes but believe the government should work with councils to develop local plans supported by communities. Liz Truss has also criticised top-down planning targets set in Whitehall. She wants reforms to the planning system to make it simpler and faster to build homes, but only if communities want them. New grammar schools? The opening of new grammar schools in England is banned – but current ones can be expanded. Both candidates have spoken about support for grammars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’d change the law. Rishi Sunak told a hustings in July that he supported grammar schools. But his team have clarified that he doesn’t mean opening new ones – instead he back “expanding existing grammar schools in local areas which are wholly-selective.” Liz Truss hasn’t said explicitly that she would change the law to allow new grammars. But she has hinted at it, saying she wants them to available to everyone. She said: “I want people around the country to have the choice that we have to be able to send our daughters to a grammar school.” Grammar schools are controversial, and the last manifesto did not mention them. Some argue they lift standards, but others are worried selective education is discriminatory. What about international trade rules? Both candidates are committed to legislation which would allow ministers in London to override the Northern Ireland protocol. The EU argues this would break international law – but the UK government has argued it wouldn’t because of the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement. We asked both candidates if they would continue with steel subsidies, which are also contrary to international trade rules. Team Sunak has pledged to support the industry, Team Truss says key sectors must be competitive.Will there be an Online Safety Bill rethink?This was a significant – but controversial – piece of legislation which was progressing through Parliament. But it ran out of time to pass under Boris Johnson and it’ll now be up to the next prime minister to decide what happens.Rishi Sunak is committing to looking again at one of the most controversial parts – referring to legal but harmfu …

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