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The Conservative Party and social policy$
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Hugh Bochel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424334

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424334.001.0001

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Conservative policy and the family

Conservative policy and the family

(p.197) eleven Conservative policy and the family
The Conservative Party and social policy

Paul Daniel

Policy Press

This chapter suggests that family policy is one aspect of social policy where the coalition with the Liberal Democrats may push the Conservatives in a more socially liberal direction. It first considers the genesis and development of current Conservative attitudes to marriage and the family. Next, the extent to which they differ from those of New Labour and the earlier Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major are explored. Withdrawal of state support for the family was a consistent policy motif in the 1980s. In policy terms, the Major government continued along the lines set by its predecessor. Marking a clear departure from the Thatcher and Major years, Michael Gove acknowledged that there were many aspects of Labour's policy on the family that needed to be preserved. Finally, the chapter reflects upon the possible implications for future social policy arising out of David Cameron's commitment to supporting marriage.

Keywords:   family policy, Conservative governments, marriage, New Labour, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Michael Gove, David Cameron

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