|This article needs to be updated. (April 2015)|
|Motto||Faith, Flag and Family|
|Sir Edward Leigh
The Cornerstone Group is a socially conservative or traditional conservative political organisation within the British Conservative Party. The Group espouses traditional values as exemplified by its motto: Faith, Flag, and Family. It comprises Members of Parliament with a traditionalist outlook and was founded in 2005. The Group's president is Edward Leigh and its chairman John Hayes. More than fifty Conservative Party Members of Parliament belong to the Cornerstone Group, including several members of HM Government.
The Conservative Party incorporates three main schools of thought; along with the traditionalist-leaning Cornerstone Group, there are also the One Nation and Thatcherite elements. There is more than a degree of overlap between these groups, depending on the issue. The Cornerstone Group supports the unitary governance of the British State and opposes attempts to transfer power away from it — either downwards through regionalism and devolution, or upwards to the international control of the European Union. A manifesto released at the time of its foundation set out the Group's intentions:
Its name derives from the Cornerstone Group's support for three British social institutions: the Church of England, the unitary British State, and the family. To this end, it emphasises the UK's Anglican heritage (although some are looking to Roman Catholicism in view of increasing liberalism within the CofE), opposes any transfer of power away from the United Kingdom — either downwards to the nations and regions or upwards to the European Union — and seeks to place greater emphasis on traditional family structures to repair what has been termed as Britain's broken society, as well as calling for tighter levels of immigration into the UK.
Its core focus points include the Monarchy; traditional marriage; family and community duties; proper pride in the United Kingdom's distinctive qualities; quality of life over soulless utility; social responsibility over personal selfishness; social justice as civic duty, not state dependency; compassion for those in need; reducing government waste; lower taxation and deregulation; Promotion and protection of ancient liberties against politically correct censorship and a commitment to the democratically elected UK parliament.
Prominent MPs from this wing of the party include Owen Paterson, John Redwood and Edward Leigh — a notable Roman Catholic — out of an organisation marked out by its support for the Anglican Church. Alan Duncan once referred to this wing as a "Taliban tendency" within the Party and mocked it as the "Tombstone Group", although this view has become increasingly unfashionable. The conservative English philosopher Roger Scruton represents the intellectual wing of the Cornerstone Group: his writings rarely touch on economics and instead concentrate on providing conservative perspectives on political, social, cultural and moral issues.
- Forman, Daniel (25 July 2015). "Conservative MPs call for 'moral values' agenda". ePolitix.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
The pamphlet was also critical of the outgoing leader Michael Howard's general election campaign, which it accused of being "too timid" on tax cuts, public service reform and family values. "We believe that these values must be stressed: tradition, nation, family, religious ethics, free enterprise," Leigh said. "We want to use the leadership election to argue for principles and policies, not about personalities." He attacked modernisers who want to ape New Labour's cultural liberalism. "The liberals have constructed an empire of cultural assumptions which, conservatives must realise, you either surrender to or fight," he said. "Emulating New Labour both lacks authenticity and is unlikely to make us popular. "We must seize the centre ground and pull it kicking and screaming towards us. That is the only way to demolish the foundations of the liberal establishment and demonstrate to the electorate the fundamental flaws on which it is based.
- "Who we are". Cornerstone Group.
- Chope was MP for Southampton Itchen from 1983 until 1992
- Howarth was MP for Cannock and Burntwood from 1983 until 1992
- Knight was MP for Derby North from 1983 until 1997