Exclusive: Conservative councillors demand the Government ditch politically correct education policies
- 87 per cent say voters want the party to focus on the economy and Brexit rather than socially progressive causes
- 79 per cent believe parents, not schools, should teach children about adult relationships
- 75 per cent want schools to promote traditional models of family and marriage
- 62 per cent say the party is overly focussed on politically correct issues like gender identity
- 51 per cent say it is increasingly difficult to be a social conservative in the Conservative Party, and only 20 per cent believe that this is not the case.
- Only three per cent believe that plans to make it easier to change gender will win votes
- Support for traditional marriage is seen as a vote winner (52 per cent). Transgender reforms and unisex toilets in schools seen as toxic by more than half of respondents.
Tory activists have urged the Prime Minister to ditch the Party’s “dumbed down, politically correct” education policy, a new poll has found.
The poll of 550 Conservative councillors, conducted by ComRes earlier this month, also found that activists want the party to abandon its politically correct stance on gender to concentrate on core issues like Brexit and the family.
More than two thirds (67 per cent) of councillors believe that parents should decide when and how children learn about adult relationships, while 75 per cent believe that traditional marriage and the family should be promoted through the education system.
The numbers are a rejection of Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Equalities Justine Greening’s support for compulsory relationships education with no right of parental withdrawal, due to be introduced in 2019.
Asked to identify what the Government’s priorities should be for education, a full three quarters rated attainment, as “very important” and a further quarter (23 per cent) said “fairly important”. While 97 per cent identified ensuring school funding as very or fairly important, the same number as ensuring good discipline. Just one in 12 (eight per cent) said providing unisex toilets in schools was “very” or “fairly important”, with nearly eight in 10 (77 per cent) saying it was not. Worryingly for the Government, the Labour Party’s policy of scrapping university tuition fees was supported by three times (25 per cent) as many Conservative Councillors, while just one in six (16 per cent) thought lessons on gender were a priority.
Thomas Pascoe, the Campaign Director of the Coalition for Marriage, described the poll as a “wake-up call” from party activists to “an Education Secretary who appears to be more interested in indoctrinating children than educating them.
“Conservative Party councillors want the Government to concentrate on ensuring schools are well funded and teaching effectively.
“Current policy promotes an extremist attitude to gender and an obsession with adult sexual identities over all else. The future of our children is being placed second behind the ideological fixations of adults who should know better.
“The warning to Theresa May from her grassroots could not be clearer: stop the dumbed down, politically correct box ticking and concentrate on the job in hand.”
The survey was commissioned in the wake of the interview Ms Greening gave to the BBC in the summer in which she announced plans to make it easier for people to change their gender.
The poll asked Conservative councillors which policies they saw as likely vote winners and losers and which they personally thought should be adopted.
By a clear majority 54 per cent of those surveyed thought allowing transgender people to change their legal gender without the need for medical diagnosis would lose more votes than it would win, compared to just three per cent who said it would win more votes than it would lose. The policy, which enjoyed the highest level of support in terms of winning more votes than it would lose, was building more affordable homes “in my area”. This was supported by six in 10 (59 per cent) of those surveyed.
Scrapping Ofsted and replacing it with a more objective and accountable alternative also proved popular with more than twice as many (38 per cent) believing it to be a vote winner than a vote loser (16 per cent). While fully half (51 per cent) agreed with the statement that “OFSTED appears biased in favour of an ideological, left-wing agenda”.
The poll concluded by asking the Conservative councillors what should be included in sex and relationships education in schools. It found overwhelming support for teaching children about the importance of traditional marriage (77 per cent), while fewer than four in ten respondents (39 per cent) believed it ought to include lessons on gender identity. Interestingly those surveyed backed lessons on internet safety (99 per cent) and on respect and consent (98 per cent).
In addition the poll found that a majority (51 per cent) of councillors believed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to hold socially conservative views in the conservative party, with just one in five (20 per cent) disagreeing. Six in 10 (61 per cent) thought the Party is overly focused on politically correct issues, while 87 per cent would rather it focused on the economy and Brexit than socially progressive causes.
The full poll results are available here.