LIBERTY ANALYSIS: CONSERVATIVE PARTY MANIFESTO

The General Election is our chance to vote for a better society – so it’s vital to know where the parties stand on important issues. We’ve analysed each of the major parties’ manifestos in line with our six key demands of whoever steps into No 10.

But remember, a manifesto is a snapshot of what a party wants to do in Government. If something isn’t included, it doesn’t mean it’s unimportant to them and they might still act on it.

OUR CHALLENGE TO A NEW GOVERNMENT…

Stand up for migrants’ rights

What Liberty is calling for: End the racist hostile environment and make sure everyone can access vital public services without fear of being detained and deported.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not mention the hostile environment, nor does it make any commitment to firewall off public services from immigration enforcement.

What Liberty is calling for: Set a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not mention immigration detention.

Stand against criminalising poverty

What Liberty is calling for: Scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not mention the Vagrancy Act (but the previous Conservative Government did promise to review it).

What Liberty is calling for: Scrap the power to make Public Spaces Protection Orders.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not mention PSPOs.

Reject mass surveillance

What Liberty is calling for: Tear up the Investigatory Powers Act (also known as the Snoopers’ Charter) – the most intrusive mass surveillance regime of any democratic country.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not mention mass surveillance.

What Liberty is calling for: Ban police and private company use of facial recognition technology in all publicly accessible places.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not specifically mention facial recognition technology, but it does state that a Conservative Government would “empower the police to safely use new technologies like biometrics and artificial intelligence, along with the use of DNA, within a strict legal framework”. And the party has previously been supportive of facial recognition trials.

Stand against discriminatory policing

What Liberty is calling for: Outlaw the use of racist predictive policing tools.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not specifically mention predictive policing tools, but it does state that a Conservative Government would “empower the police to safely use new technologies like biometrics and artificial intelligence, along with the use of DNA, within a strict legal framework”.

What Liberty is calling for: Scrap powers to stop and search people without suspicion and limit remaining stop and search powers.

Analysis:

The Conservative Party backs the increased use of stop and search. And the manifesto says a Conservative Government would empower police by a new court order to target known knife carriers, making it easier for officers to stop and search people convicted of knife crime.

Defend access to justice

What Liberty is calling for: Reinstate legal aid so that justice isn’t reserved only for people who can afford it.

Analysis:

The manifesto does not mention legal aid.

Protect human rights for everyone

What Liberty is calling for: Commit to maintaining the Human Rights Act.

Analysis:

The manifesto pledges to “update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.”

“Update” sounds innocuous enough, but in reality – and particularly when looked at alongside other proposals – is likely to limit where and when we can enforce our fundamental human rights. 

What Liberty is calling for: Legislate to plug any rights gap left by the process of leaving the EU.

Analysis:

The manifesto says a Conservative Government will set up a Constitution, Democracy & Rights Commission to “look at the broader aspects of our constitution” after Brexit, including the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts, Royal Prerogative and the House of Lords.