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Theresa May’s top 9 flip-flops

by Hugo Dixon | 26.05.2017

Theresa May is weak and wobbly, not strong and stable. That doesn’t bode well for our Brexit talks. Here are her top nine flip-flops.

Dementia tax

In her manifesto, the prime minister promised to put elderly care on a “strong and stable footing” by scrapping David Cameron’s plan for a cap on how much people would have to pay if they couldn’t look after themselves. Only four days later, after the opposition branded her policy a “dementia tax”, May said the cap was back. She had the nerve to tell the BBC she hadn’t changed her mind.

Snap election

Time and again, the prime minister said she wouldn’t call an early election. For example, she told the BBC on Sept. 4: “I am not going to be calling a snap election”, giving the need for a “period of stability” as the reason. And yet on April 14, she called a snap election, giving the need for stability as the reason.

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Energy cap

Soon after the election was called, the Tories were briefing they would introduce a cap on energy prices. After Conservative free-marketeers lambasted the idea, May wobbled. Her manifesto merely promised: “Competitive and affordable energy costs following a new independent review into the cost of energy.”

Taxing white van man

In March’s Budget, the government announced plans to put up National Insurance rates for the self-employed, breaking a pledge in the Tories’ 2015 manifesto not to increase National Insurance. After howls of protest from the Tory back benches, the tax hike was scrapped.

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Naming and shaming companies that employ foreigners

At the Tory party conference last October, the government unveiled proposals to force companies to reveal how many foreigners they employ in order to shame bosses who fail to hire Brits. After an outcry, the idea was abandoned.

Trump’s Muslim ban

May was so keen to curry favour with Donald Trump that she refused to condemn his plan to ban citizens of seven mostly-Muslim countries from coming to America – a policy liable to inflame extremist Muslim sentiment across the world. After a global outcry, she flip-flopped and said she didn’t agree with it.

Workers on boards

When May launched her campaign to become Tory leader last July she promised that employees would be represented on company boards. The business community was aghast. Come the manifesto, the pledge has been diluted. Companies merely need to ensure a specific director has “responsibility for employee representation”.

China nuclear deal

The prime minister’s instinct after she entered Downing Street was to cancel Beijing’s investment in our nuclear power industry. After the Chinese leadership made clear that it was not amused, she made an abrupt U-turn.

Quit EU or ECHR?

During the referendum, May campaigned to quit the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). She was, however, in favour of staying in the EU. After the referendum, in her bid to become Tory leader, she did a total volte-face: backing membership of the ECHR but becoming the country’s arch-Brexiter with her “Brexit means Brexit” mantra.

When our EU partners look at this flip-flopping, what will they conclude? Will they view her as a strong leader who will hold her ground in the coming Brexit negotiations – or as somebody who will cave if they push hard enough?

People have compared May to Margaret Thatcher, our first female prime minister. One of Thatcher’s most famous phrases was: “You turn if you want to. The lady is not for turning.” The same cannot be said of her successor.

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One Response to “Theresa May’s top 9 flip-flops”

  • What about her stance on Heathrow expansion, didn’t she promise the voters of Maidenhead that it wouldn’t be built?
    Didn’t she promise to represent the voters of Maidenhead who voted to Remain?
    A woman who claims to be guided by her faith yet is happy to break up the Britons married to people from overseas, if they don’t earn enough
    Is this woman trustworthy?