Conservative PartyManifesto commitments

The following extracts from the 2015 election manifesto are intended to summarise the Conservative Party commitments related to the EU referendum

The full manifesto may be seen here

The main commitments:

"Our plan to control immigration will put you, your family and the British people first. We will reduce the number of people coming to our country with tough new welfare conditions and robust enforcement. We will:

Proposals on welfare and immigration

"We will regain control of EU migration by reforming welfare rules"

"Changes to welfare to cut EU migration will be an absolute requirement in the renegotiation. We have already banned housing benefit for EU jobseekers, and restricted other benefits, including Jobseeker's Allowance. We will insist that EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years. This will reduce the financial incentive for lower-paid, lower- skilled workers to come to Britain. We will introduce a new residency requirement for social housing, so that EU migrants cannot even be considered for a council house unless they have been living in an area for at least four years. If an EU migrant's child is living abroad, then they should receive no child benefit or child tax credit, no matter how long they have worked in the UK and no matter how much tax they have paid. To reduce the numbers of EU migrants coming to Britain, we will end the ability of EU jobseekers to claim any job-seeking benefits at all. And if jobseekers have not found a job within six months, they will be required to leave."

"We will negotiate with the EU to introduce stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back, and tougher and longer re-entry bans for all those who abuse free movement. We want to toughen requirements for non-EU spouses to join EU citizens, including with an income threshold and English language test. And when new countries are admitted to the EU in future, we will insist that free movement cannot apply to those new members until their economies have converged much more closely with existing Member States."

Proposals on the economy

"We will protect our economy from any further integration of the Eurozone. The integration of the Eurozone has raised acute questions for non-Eurozone countries like the United Kingdom. We benefit from the Single Market and do not want to stand in the way of the Eurozone resolving its difficulties. Indeed, given the trade between Britain and the Eurozone countries we want to see these economies returning to growth. But we will not let the integration of the Eurozone jeopardise the integrity of the Single Market or in any way disadvantage the UK."

Reclamation of powers from Brussels

"We will reclaim powers from Brussels. We want to see powers flowing away from Brussels, not to it. We have already taken action to return around 100 powers, but we want to go further. We want national parliaments to be able to work together to block unwanted European legislation. And we want an end to our commitment to an 'ever closer union', as enshrined in the Treaty to which every EU country has to sign up. Furthermore, we will continue to ensure that defence policy remains firmly under British national control, maintaining NATO and the transatlantic relationship as the cornerstones of our defence and security policy."

Proposals for a Bill of Rights

"We will scrap the Human Rights Act. We will scrap Labour's Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights which will restore common sense to the application of human rights in the UK. The Bill will remain faithful to the basic principles of human rights, which we signed up to in the original European Convention on Human Rights. It will protect basic rights, like the right to a fair trial, and the right to life, which are an essential part of a modern democratic society. But it will reverse the mission creep that has meant human rights law being used for more and more purposes, and often with little regard for the rights of wider society. Among other things the Bill will stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using spurious human rights arguments to prevent deportation."

Proposals on the Single market

"We want to preserve the integrity of the Single Market, by insisting on protections for those countries that have kept their own currencies. We want to expand the Single Market, breaking down the remaining barriers to trade and ensuring that new sectors are opened up to British firms. We want to ensure that new rules target unscrupulous behaviour in the financial services industry, while safeguarding Britain as a global centre of excellence in finance. So we will resist EU attempts to restrict legitimate financial services activities. We will press for lower EU spending, further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and Structural Funds, and for EU money to be focused on promoting jobs and growth."

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© Richard Kimber
Last Modified: 23 Feb 16

This page contains links that are relevant to the forthcoming United Kingdom in - out referendum on EU membership following the conclusion of negotiations on reforming the European Union or changing Britain's terms of EU membership to be held in the UK some time before the end of 2017.