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'Tories must embrace Britain'

LAND OF OPPORTUNITY: Theresa May’s party ‘wants to build a country that works for everyone'

THE CONSERVATIVE Party has a proud history as the party of opportunity.

We are determined to build a country that works for everyone, from every background. At the very core of this is a determination to foster a society that gives opportunities to people of every race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

This is the modern, compassionate Conservatism that I believe in.

Since being appointed to the role of Party Chairman a year ago, I have made it my personal mission to make sure we are a party where the values of hard work, family and community appeal to people of all backgrounds.


I know the scale of the challenge and the importance of getting this right. That’s why we have redoubled our outreach efforts, regularly having honest conversations with communities where we are under-represented to better understand how we can do more, and supporting those from diverse backgrounds who want to represent the Conservative party.

But we need to do more to ensure black and ethnic minority voters know they have a home with the Conservatives and that we embrace modern Britain. A key part of that is ensuring that we do not tolerate any abuse, discrimination or bigotry.

Social media can be an unwelcoming place. For every moment that allows us to connect with those who make us think or laugh, there are others who are too ready to abuse people online.

It’s too easy for people to act irresponsibly, spreading fear and intolerance.

That is why, a week into my role as chairman, I launched a Respect Pledge.

I wanted to ensure our candidates were very clear about the high standard of behaviour we expect from our representatives on and offline, and to remind all our members that we will not tolerate abuse of any kind.

Since then, I have ramped up our complaints proceedings with the resources and powers it needs to act immediately where abuse is uncovered.

I have also regularly written to our associations to ensure that every member, councillor and candidate knows exactly what is expected of them and the consequences they can expect to face should they behave or act in a manner that is not fit for public life or our values.

And if anyone does fall short, we act – suspending members and launching immediate investigations – which often lead to disciplinary action, including expulsions.

We keep this work under review to ensure we are tackling problems consistently and so our members, supporters and the wider public can have faith that discriminatory behaviour – whether racism or Islamophobia, misogyny or homophobia – is dealt with.

We are fortunate to have a rich tapestry of faiths and communities which make up the fabric of British society. Our multicultural, multi-faith approach makes this country a stronger and better place, and as a Party, we will continue to do all we can to ensure we remain a country of tolerance and opportunity for all – no matter who you are, what you believe, or where you’re from.

Brandon Lewis is chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Great Yarmouth

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