From 1842 onwards, Robert Peel legislated to stop boys and girls under 10 from working underground in the mines, and his Factory Act regulated the number of hours children worked in factories (progressive for the time). The Railway Regulation Act provided compulsory services at a price affordable to poorer people. He opposed discrimination – in his time against Catholics.
But the final rift came in 1846 when, to relieve the effects of famine in Ireland, he joined with Whigs and Radicals to repeal the Corn Laws.
Today, the Conservative Party faces a similar challenge – even down to a cavalier disregard for the situation in Ireland. Should it look backwards and retreat into its shell, or should it continue with the progressive tradition that Peel helped to promote with his Tamworth Manifesto?
As former Conservative members we are no longer able to be part of a Party that has turned its back on the young, on the aspirational, on minorities and on the Union.
We have founded movement46 in honour of Robert Peel’s principled stand for progressive Conservatism. We want it to be a rallying point for all those who feel politically homeless and who are looking for a movement that unites, not divides… looks outwards, not inwards…. And is focussed on the future, not the past.
Are you a political party?
No – at this time we are not a political party and we have no immediate plans to field candidates in any elections. That is deliberate as we believe that we, currently, do not need another faction challenging for the centre-ground.
If you are not a political party, then what are you?
Until recently, all the main parties, whatever their policy differences, coalesced around a set of liberal values encompassing the free market, equality, tolerance, and openness to the world. However, over the last three years or so just as the Labour Party has moved to the left, so the Conservatives have moved rapidly to the right, in both cases letting free forces of nationalism, intolerance and discrimination. That has left a significant number of people, especially to the centre-right of British politics, feeling politically homeless. We aim to be a rallying point for those people.
But isn’t that space already filled by the Liberal Democrats?
To a certain extent, yes. We expect that supporters of movement46 will find a lot in common with the LibDems and their policies. However, for many people, who may have been members, or voted Conservative their entire adult life, the leap to joining the LibDems could be too great. We aim to provide a home for those people to discuss and develop an image of the Britain they would like to see without being bound by Party labels.
So how will movement 46 develop?
That will be up to the supporters to decide over time. At the moment, our focus is the present and the massive hiatus that has developed in British politics, leaving completely adrift large numbers of ordinary moderate voices who no longer feel represented.
Who founded movement46?
Visit our founders page to find out more.
Who is funding you?
We are a grassroots organisation, founded by three former Conservative councillors and Party activists. Accordingly, our funding comes from our supporters and people like you, from across the UK, are chipping in to push movement46 forward.
Do I have to pay anything to get involved?
Absolutely not. You can just sign up as an Ambassador with your email address. If you do want to become more engaged then joining as a supporter costs from just £2 per month and you then take part in online debates and discussions through our exclusive forums.
Is this just an online organisation?
Initially, the main focus will be online But if, as we believe, there is a pent up demand for this type of organisation we eventually hope to organise meetings across the country where people can come together and begin to map a way forward to turn politics away from its current hate-filled rhetoric to the traditional liberal, pragmatic values for which Britain was so famous.