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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

On 16 April Rishi Sunak won a vote in the House of Commons, when his plan to phase out smoking was endorsed by a large majority of MPs. This was treated as a ‘free vote’ — in line with practice on issues such as abortion, or the legalisation of same-sex marriage, this is an issue of conscience rather than a party-political matter. However, the article focuses on the philosophical division within the Conservative party on the proposed ban.

The vote has highlighted the clash of opinion between those who support the measure on health grounds, and those who take a more libertarian stance, arguing that people should be free to make their own lifestyle choices. The latter group includes some potential leaders of the party, such as Kemi Badenoch, who are presumably seeking to appeal to an important section of Conservative opinion.

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

Rishi Sunak suffers Tory backlash as MPs back legislation to ban smoking

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • ‘The modern Conservative party is internally divided on ideas and policies.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the modern Conservative party is internally divided on many important ideas and policies.

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

    TIP: The smoking ban is an example of an important faultline within the Conservative party, between advocates of a paternalistic and a neoliberal approach to politics. You need to consider different Conservative positions on other ideas and policies. These could include differences on climate change and on withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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