Tories failed on half their 2017 manifesto pledges, researchers find

PUBLISHED: 17:23 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:38 25 November 2019

Theresa May during the 2017 general election campaign. New research has found that the Tories have since fulfilled less than half of the promises from the 2017 manifesto - they're not the important ones. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

Theresa May during the 2017 general election campaign. New research has found that the Tories have since fulfilled less than half of the promises from the 2017 manifesto - they're not the important ones. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

The Conservative party fulfilled less than half of the promises outlined in its 2017 manifesto - and the others were less "important" to voters, say researchers

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A new study has found that only 48% of the promises made to the electorate have been fulfilled, and most of those were considered by voters as less central to the campaign.

Research from the University of Manchester and civic tech platform GovTracker noted that the Tories failed to fulfil many of the major pledges they campaigned on, including leaving the EU, leaving the single market and the customs union, and capping net migration to 100,000.

This was compounded by failures on other key promises such as cutting the deficit, balancing the budget and lifting the ban on new grammar schools.

Meanwhile, the party mainly fulfilled promises that voters felt were incidental to its campaign, such as continuing to support the Welsh-language TV channel S4C and introducing child bereavement leave.

Dr Chris Prosser, of the University of Manchester said: "Our raw figures show that the Conservatives fulfilled 175 out of 257 promises, which sounds impressive, but it is questionable whether voters thought many of those 175 promises were important."

To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers used polling techniques to estimate how important voters perceived each manifesto promise to be, and then matched these up with what actually happened.

This tactic has led to a far more damning verdict than academia usually produces, claim the report's authors, who argue that the results now much more closely match public perceptions.

"Voters aren't always misguided in their scepticism about parties' most eye-catching promises," said Adam Feldman of GovTracker.

University of Manchester's Jon Mellon argued: "Many of the promises completed are not exactly what the average voter would think of when they consider the government's platform."

Many promises may have been fulfilled, he said, but "they probably weren't what anyone was thinking of when deciding whether to vote for the Conservatives in 2017".

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