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The Cornerstone Group is a highly socially conservative group in the United Kingdom that works from within the Conservative Party. It's essentially the rough British equivalent of the Republican Party, though it chooses to work with (relative) moderates from within another party rather than start their own, though some members have been flirting with UKIP lately.
It was founded in 2005 by Edward Leigh (an independent-minded veteran Conservative MP) and John Hayes (another conservative and Eurosceptic Tory MP), and they supported Liam Fox over David Cameron in the 2005 Tory leadership vote. It does not have a formal membership but instead a list of "supporters", who have included Jacob Rees-Mogg, climate-change skeptic David Davies (MP for Monmouth), Sajid Javid, John Whittingdale, and David Amess.
Pretty much what you'd expect from hardcore social conservatives. Opposed to gay marriage and generally fairly homophobic, global warming is a hoax, restricting or banning abortion, teach sexual abstinence in schools, hostility to contraceptives, more restrictions on immigration, and a vehement hatred of liberalism. Their platform sums it up thusly:
“”"We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition; nation; family; religious ethics; free enterprise. We want to use the leadership election to argue for principles and policies, not about personalities. We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based."
|—Strange Desertion of Tory England: The Conservative Alternative to the Liberal Orthodoxy, July 2005.|
In other words, there's a reason why even other Conservative Party members are embarrassed by them, such as Alan Duncan MP who labelled the tendency "Taliban Toryism".
They support traditionalist Christianity, citing "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation's sense of identity for centuries".
The group was critical of David Cameron's move to the centre while in opposition in the late 00s. Its supporters tend to be opposed to the European Union. Its website promotes various speeches by prominent supporters, including one (singled out by Conservative Home) by founder and president Edward Leigh which called for a move towards a flat tax, reduced state control over schools, market-based reforms in the health service, and an end to the "tide of political correctness sweeping and restricting Britain".
- Daily Mail
- See the Wikipedia article on Cornerstone Group.
- See the Wikipedia article on Conservative Christian Fellowship.
- See the Wikipedia article on Bow Group.
- What is the Cornerstone Group, Matthew Barrett, Conservative Home, 4 May 2012
- Their "president" Edward Leigh is more or less openly a homophobe
- Fox courts religious Right with plea to limit abortion to 12 weeks, The Daily Telegraph, 20 Sep, 2005
- Forman, Daniel (25 July 2015). "Conservative MPs call for 'moral values' agenda". ePolitix.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2015. The pamphlet was also critical of the outgoing leader Michael Howard's general election campaign, which it accused of being "too timid" on tax cuts, public service reform and family values. "We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition, nation, family, religious ethics, free enterprise," Leigh said. "We want to use the leadership election to argue for principles and policies, not about personalities." He attacked modernisers who want to ape New Labour's cultural liberalism. "The liberals have constructed an empire of cultural assumptions which, conservatives must realise, you either surrender to or fight," he said. "Emulating New Labour both lacks authenticity and is unlikely to make us popular. "We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based."
- Tory MPs vote on rules for leader, Michael White, The Guardian, 19 July 2005
- Reference: Cornerstone Group, politics.co.uk, accessed 27 April 2018