Right of Reply: Teddy Taylor

The Conservative MP for Southend East responds to an article by Michael Brown that praised Shaun Woodward's decision to defect to Labour from the Conservatives
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The Independent Culture
IF THE real reason for Shaun Woodward's decision to join New Labour was his anger at the right-wing policies of the Tories, I have a feeling that he'll be in for a shock. Having been in the Commons for 35 years and seen all kinds of governments, I can genuinely say that I've never seen one which is so repulsively right-wing as the Labour Government.

A few weeks ago, I spoke at five Universities from Glasgow to Cambridge. At every one I found students furious about policies that were hammering the poorest students.

Then we've got privatisation. Labour voted against all the proposals by the Tories. But now they're going ahead with privatisations like air- traffic control. They seem more right-wing than Margaret Thatcher.

So why on earth does Shaun consider that it is the Tories who are right- wing and irresponsible? He's mentioned two issues. The first is Clause 28, preventing councils from promoting homosexuality in schools. We know that some health authorities not covered by Clause 28 do this. The Christian Institute has identified a million pounds of such spending. One health- authority video for pupils of 13 years and over encourages schoolchildren to "try experimenting with other boys and girls and see who you feel most comfortable with". Of course, the majority of councils and education authorities would not become involved, but is there not a case for preventing the minority from promoting this propaganda? Such protection cannot be regarded as right-wing.

The other issue is the single currency. But nothing could be more undemocratic and right-wing than having a "choice" of three parties, all committed to the euro and surrendering a slice of our democracy. William Hague needs those who oppose the euro to speak up. I'm certainly glad to.