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  • AQA Component Political parties: the origins, ideas and development of the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties and how these have helped shape their current policies

  • Edexcel Component 1, 2.2: Established political parties: The origins and historical development of the Conservative party, the Labour party and Liberal Democrat party, and how this has shaped their ideas and current policies on the economy, law and order, welfare and foreign affairs

Background: what you need to know

The article highlights the internal divisions of the Conservative party as it holds what is likely to be its last autumn conference before the general election. Three areas are particularly contentious. Some rightwing Conservatives want to leave the European Convention on Human Rights if it continues to obstruct their preferred policy on illegal migrants. ‘One nation’ moderates, on the other hand, are wary of the UK being seen to break its international obligations.

There is a further right-left divide over the economy, with supporters of ex-PM Liz Truss demanding tax cuts to drive growth, whilst mainstream party figures continue to see tackling inflation as the priority. The U-turn on the HS2 rail link is also controversial, with many Conservatives delighted by the scaling back of what they see as an expensive white elephant. On the other hand, Conservatives who prioritise economic growth in northern England have warned against the abandonment of previous governments’ pledges on high-speed rail.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

Rishi Sunak’s premiership under scrutiny at fractious Tory conference

For more on Sunak’s announcement about HS2 see:
Rishi Sunak axes northern leg of HS2 in flurry of ‘radical’ decisions

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘The modern Conservative party does not stand for a clear and united set of values and policies.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that what divides the modern Conservative party is more important than what unites it.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: It’s probably best to write a series of paragraphs where each one covers a particular policy area — the economy, human rights and so on. In each case, you need to find areas of agreement and disagreement among Conservatives. No credit would be given for comparing the Conservative party with other parties

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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