Tory fury over Young Labour Equalities Conference

12th February, 2018 2:25 pm

The faux outrage over Young Labour’s equalities conference continues. After taking to Twitter, Tory MPs are now briefing the press to denounce the event, which invites only under-27 members self-defining as BAME, disabled, LGBT and/or women to attend, as “discriminatory”.

Deputy Chairman James Cleverly says the conference assumes “straight white men can’t fight for equality” and Tory MP Andrew Bridgen calls it an attempt to “divide people into victim groups”.

Conservative Party Vice-Chair for Youth Ben Bradley, who was recently criticised for a 2012 blog post in which he suggested “unemployed wasters” should have vasectomies, also Tweeted his disapproval of the conference.

A Labour spokesman said there is “nothing new about spaces for people with protected characteristics” and the purpose of the one-day event is to elect liberation officers to Young Labour’s national committee.

The story has now been picked up by The Sun, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph and others. The Conservatives’ director of communications Carrie Symonds has tweeted: “Does this mean that no white heterosexual men are allowed to go to Young Labour’s EQUALITIES Conference?”.

Why, when the Tories are falling behind on the youth vote, would they employ such a strategy? The issue is irrelevant to ordinary voters, the row is unlikely to attract young activists or voters, and the impression only serves to reinforce the “nasty party” image. The Conservatives are still focussing on scatter-gun negative messaging rather than a positive, coherent and consistently offered narrative.

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