Responding to the Conservative Party’s Manifesto

12 June 2024

Our Head of Public Policy Tim Dieppe gives his assessment of the policies in the Conservative Party’s manifesto

The Conservative Party Manifesto contained very little that we didn’t already know, but it is still worth reviewing what the manifesto says on the key moral issues that we are concerned about.

Sex and Gender

The Conservatives promise to define ‘sex’ in the Equality Act as biological. This would be a welcome step forward. They will also legislate to ensure that the legal approach to sex is unified across the United Kingdom. The manifesto states: “We will not allow the word ‘woman’ to be erased by health services. Words such as ‘breastfeeding’ and ‘mother’ will not be replaced by ‘chestfeeding’ and ‘birthing parent’.”

The Conservatives also promise to legislate to ban puberty blockers and to pass legislation to ensure that schools must follow the recently developed guidance for schools on gender questioning children. We encouraged supporters to respond to the government’s consultation on this draft guidance earlier this year. While there is much that could be improved, the guidance does allow teachers not to use trans pronouns and says that parents have a right to know if their child wants to be treated as the opposite sex and must be involved in any decision about this.

Christian Concern has helped frame the conversation around allowing school children to socially transition gender ever since Nigel and Sally Rowe raised concerns about a six-year-old being allowed to socially transition in a Church of England Primary School. We also supported maths teacher Joshua Sutcliffe who has been barred from teaching for ‘misgendering’ a pupil in a maths lesson.

‘Conversion Therapy’

While the manifesto describes ‘conversion therapy’ as ‘abhorrent’, it stops short of promising to outlaw conversion practices. It says that: “In the light of the Cass Review Final Report, it is right to take more time before reaching a final judgment on additional legislation in this area.”

We remain very concerned about attempts to ban ‘conversion therapy’ which would criminalise consensual conversations about certain topics, or even prayer for someone who wants to be prayed for. Our Free to Talk website details how this would ban consensual conversations. The Cass Review raised concerns about the existing professional ban on ‘conversion therapy’ as we explained here. The Conservative Party has stopped short of promising new legislation to criminalise consensual conversations, but has not ruled it out either.


The Conservative Party plans to legislate to give parents a legal right to see what their children are being taught in school in relationships and sex education (RSE). This would be a welcome development. It also plans to lift the cap on faith schools which will allow them to offer more places to children based on faith, and will encourage them to expand. The party also plans to ban mobile phones in schools which we would support.

The Party plans to ban protests outside schools. We do not think it should be illegal to protest about, say, sex education or some other issue outside a school. It also plans to legislate to create a register of children not in school. This would create further pressure on home schooling and is an incursion into family life. We opposed this policy in a consultation in 2019.


The Conservative Party plans to move child benefit to a household system rather than an individual basis which is clearly fairer and benefits families.  They promise to expand Family Hubs into every local authority in England. Sadly, the manifesto celebrates the legalising of same-sex ‘marriages’ by the Conservative Party which undermined the institution of marriage.

Life Issues

The Conservative Party says that it will expand international campaigns on “reproductive health”, which is code for promoting abortion internationally. There is no other mention of abortion in the manifesto. This is the Party which legislated for pills-by-post abortions and for buffer zones around abortion clinics.

On euthanasia, the manifesto says that “assisted dying is a matter of conscience” and that they will “respect the will of Parliament.” Really the Conservatives should make clear that they are opposed to legalising assisted suicide because of the pressure it will put on vulnerable people and how it will change the doctor-patient relationship.

Other Issues

The Conservative Party plans to legislate so that the role of Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief is a statutory role. The manifesto also mentions that calls for ‘jihad’ in political protest ought to be an offence. It says they “do not tolerate anti-Muslim hatred”. We agree, and we are pleased to see them use that term rather than ‘Islamophobia’. The Conservative Party is the only one of the mainstream political parties not to have formally adopted the notorious APPG definition of ‘Islamophobia’ which effectively prohibits criticism of Islamic beliefs and practices.


While there are some welcome policy proposals in this manifesto, it is a long way from being a manifesto of hope for families and for defending and protecting life. There is no mention of Christians or churches anywhere in the manifesto. There is no attempt to defend the sanctity of human life. We have seen massively increased abortion numbers while the Conservatives have been in power, alongside declining marriages. There are many other issues to be concerned about too.

We need to be praying for our candidates and their parties. Do join us for our weekly prayer meetings and the prayer rally on the night before the election. Do also question your candidates on the issues that matter to you. This is your chance to make your views heard.

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