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Where do the Tory Leadership Candidates Stand on Life Issues?

In the wake of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union, David Cameron has decided to resign as Prime Minister. This means that the Conservative Party will now go through a leadership election, with the aim of having a new leader in place before the Conservative Party Conference at the beginning of October.

The following summaries and accompanying table discuss the views of the putative candidates (updated):

Liam Fox (No longer running) – Past leadership contender and Defence Secretary Liam Fox has had a long-standing and consistently good voting record on life issues, being the best of the crop thus far on that basis. Well liked and respected, the only question is whether he can secure the confidence of his Parliamentary colleagues after the Werritty scandal of 2011, with which his successful libel action may help.

Andrea Leadsom – An MP since 2010, Leadsom has not had much time to leave an impression on right-to-lifers, but her votes in that short time have been consistently good. Voting in favour of the Bruce amendment to the Serious Crime Bill on sex-selective abortion, and against the Marris assisted suicide Bill last year, the signs of her inclinations on life have been very positive indeed. Perhaps tellingly, she is the only candidate to have turned up to the vote on embryo-destructive ‘mitochondrial donation’, and vote against.

Stephen Crabb (No longer running) – Aside from disappointingly voting in favour of ‘mitochondrial donation’, Crabb has been profoundly sympathetic to right-to-life aims, having voted for a reduction in the upper limit for ‘social abortions’ to 12 weeks. That he is a principled Christian has also become apparent more recently. Whether as a Remain campaigner he is a credible candidate to secure the leadership will be an important question.

Theresa May – Home Secretary since 2010, May has voted well on life issues, when she has attended votes. This suggests a sincere albeit relatively moderate right-to-life stance. She is respected, but not thought to command the support amongst fellow Tory MPs to succeed in becoming leader.

Michael Gove – Controversial former Education Secretary Michael Gove was a major figure in the Vote Leave campaign, giving him credibility as a potential new leader. He has largely abstained on votes to do with life issues. Of the few in which he has taken part, he voted in favour of a ban on animal–human hybrids and ‘saviour siblings’, but voted in favour of ‘mitochondrial donation’ last year. Having voted against the Marris Bill, his record would be similar to that of Stephen Crabb, except that his large number of abstentions suggest that right-to-life issues are much less of a priority to him than the other candidates.

Tory leadership on abortion


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Dear reader

Thanks to the support from people like you, last year a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this is not the end for our opposition.

We are currently facing major threats on five separate fronts:

  1. Pro-abortion MP Rupa Huq has brought forward an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce a jail term of up to two years if a pro-lifer offers support or advice to a woman near an abortion clinic. This is a threat to unborn babies and to freedom of speech.
  2. The assisted suicide lobby has brought forward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.
  3. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  4. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  5. The abortion lobby is expected to make another attempt to change abortion law to allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. 

Fighting both the abortion and assisted suicide lobbies over this period has already made a huge dent in Right To Life UK's limited resources.

To cover this gap and ensure we effectively defeat these proposals during this period, we must raise at least £200,000.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a significant difference.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

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