Why the Manchester bomb targeted women

Why the Manchester bomb targeted women who accounted for 17 out of the 22 dead.

Why do Islamists fear women who are free?

Corbyn’s blinkered belief that foreign policy motivates terrorists ignores the ugly strain of misogyny in modern Islam

‘Don’t need permission,” sings Ariana Grande. “Made my decision, to test my limits.” It is her spiritedness, as much as pussycat ears and glittery basques, that draws her young fans. Grande’s tour is called Dangerous Woman. No wonder flicking through What’s On in Manchester it caught Salman Abedi’s eye: to Islamists there is nothing more dangerous than a liberated girl.

For Jeremy Corbyn, as outlined in his speech yesterday, terrorism and this particular atrocity, which targeted women — 17 out of the 22 dead — are products only of Britain’s foreign policy, its irresponsible wars. In the barren, blinkered thinking of the unreconstructed left, Islam is blameless: fault can only lie with the West. Conveniently Corbyn forgets an ideological movement predating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Salafism began in the 18th century but in the past 70 years has spread through Muslim populations, via mosques and madrassas funded by Saudi Arabia, crushing tolerance and diversity, proclaiming itself the one pure iteration of faith. Control of women is not a side issue, an unfortunate by-product, but the very heart of its mission.

Sayyid Qutb, the al-Qaeda philosopher, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who travelled the US in the 1950s to work out how the Arab world could rebuild after suffering colonial defeats. He noted female carnality at church dances: “The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs. She knows all this and does not hide it.”

Sexuality, he concluded, was western, ergo unIslamic. Women’s freedom, both in the bedroom and to work beyond the home, was a sign of society’s degradation. Islam must rebuild itself upon the family; women must return to codes of obedience, piety and (above all) modesty, rooted in the age of the Prophet. When Isis or the Taliban roll into a town, shrouding women is their first act.

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is about women living under the totalitarian Christian right. But watching the TV version (which starts tomorrow on Channel 4) it feels more like conservative Islam. Women are kept indoors, forbidden to think or express sexual desire, and owned by men. Dissidents are tortured or hanged.

Islam has many diverse strands: joyful, liberal, tolerant, scholarly, even licentious. Salafism — a political credo — uses shame, threats and even violence to extinguish them all. You see its influence in every veiled woman in Tower Hamlets, or every Brummie girl shoved into a hijab aged five. Women from countries that never covered now feel compelled to hide.

For men, conservative Islam has huge attractions: it enshrines male dominance, at home or in the world, as God’s will. Jihad, its most extreme manifestation, is an exaltation of twisted, toxic, violent hyper-masculinity, like those too-frequent cases of divorced fathers who kill themselves with all their kids.

Before he drove a car into a crowd on Westminster Bridge Khalid Masood coerced his wife, Farzana, until she fled. Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the Nice lorry driver who killed 86, beat up his girlfriends. Omar Mateen, who shot dead 49 in a Florida nightclub, would attack his wife if she hadn’t done the laundry.

“Why doesn’t the left ever realise,” a young British Muslim asked me in frustration, “that these people are our far right?” Why indeed? The reeling citizens of Manchester may wonder why the Labour candidate for its Gorton constituency, Afzal Khan, attended a celebration of the 38th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. The same revolution that enslaved a nation’s women and had its gay men hanged from cranes. Women at this “celebration” were seated at the back.

Instead of making common cause with progressive, secular voices, the left denounces them as Islamophobes with axes to grind. Partly from self-interest: Labour candidates attend gender-segregated meetings rather than challenge the patriarchal political machine which delivers the Muslim bloc vote. But it is also through an abiding cultural relativism. I was describing a private Islamic girls’ school in Nottingham, which teaches pupils little more than the Koran and prepares them for no future beyond motherhood when a white liberal friend chided me: “But isn’t it their culture?” His own daughters warranted well-protected rights to learn and fulfil their potential, but not brown girls.

The left shrugs when the atheist and human rights campaigner Maryam Namazie is banned from universities or heckled by Muslim men. It contrives to defend the niqab as “empowering”, ignoring its purpose: the protection of male property, the erasure of the female self. Speak out as a white feminist and you will be told to stay in your lane, that you have a saviour complex. Although not “imposing our western values” — for which read universal human rights — is the reason why FGM, honour killings and forced marriage went unpunished for so long.

Even now the left is silent when a brave Labour candidate, Naz Shah, was branded a slut for a photograph taken on a night out: “Do you want your daughters to be like her?” It ignores Sharia courts which dispense grotesquely unequal justice.

The social and political battles of women in Muslim communities — whether in Britain, Saudi Arabia or Iran — are identical to those fought by western women in the last century. Why would we stand by? As Amina Lone, a Labour councillor, pointed out this week, Muslim women won’t speak out against radicalisation for fear of being vilified. In the age of terrorism, we need more dangerous women.

India Launches Massive Push for Clean Power, Lighting, and Cars

While President Trump wants to revive America’s coal industry, India is embracing renewables, LED lighting, electric cars, and more.

India is in the midst of the “largest energy transformation project in the world” organizers of the Vienna Energy Forum declared, while introducing the keynote speaker, India’s Energy Minister Piyush Goyal on May 11.

“Everything changed in 2015 with the Paris climate agreement. We must decouple economic growth from environmental impacts and leave a better world,” said Goyal, to loud applause from the 1650 energy experts and government officials in Vienna. “Every moment counts.”

“I’ve never heard such visionary and progressive remarks from a world-leading country,” the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, told me afterwards. The small Pacific island country is barely ten feet above sea level and rising water levels resulting from climate change have forced thousands to leave the country already.

“India sees the urgency of climate action,” said Sopoaga.

India is in a big hurry to green its energy system to create jobs, improve the quality of life for its citizens, clean the air and water and, yes, tackle climate change, its leaders say. Keep in mind this is a country with 1.3 billion people, nearly 300 million of whom do not have access to electricity and where the average income is $1,600 a year.

Now mainly powered by coal, India is adding 50 percent more solar and wind than the U.S. currently has installed. It is replacing 770 million street and household lights with energy-saving and long-lasting LEDs and bringing electric access for the first time to tens of thousands of poor rural villages. And India is already doing all of this faster than anyone believed possible.


“India is the poster boy for clean energy… showing this is not a burden, just the opposite,” said Vivien Foster, an energy economist at the World Bank. “It’s a great opportunity.”


The LED lighting replacement for the entire country is hoped to be finished by 2019—just four years after the program was announced in 2015, shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected. Prior to that India was committed to using coal to develop its economy, just as China had done 25 years ago. But now Modi is trying to hitch India’s future to 21st century technologies.

The energy savings from replacing 770 million household and street lights will cut India’s peak electricity demand by 20,000 megawatts (MW) and slash emissions of climate-heating CO2 by nearly 80 million tonnes annually. That’s almost as much as Chile’s CO2 emissions in 2015. This drastically reduces the need to build more energy plants and will save $7 billion a year.

And all of this has been accomplished without government funding.

India is a leader in a type of business called an Energy Service Company (ESCO), which makes money only on energy costs they manage to save their customers. Government power utilities set up an ESCO company called Energy Efficiency Services Limited, which has made nothing but profits since its inception. This company has worked with LED manufacturers to drive the costs of these lights down 85 percent in less than three years. Now India gets the world’s lowest price, Goyal said in an interview.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has been so successful it just announced a three-year, $130 million investment in the United Kingdom, to tap into the estimated $8 to 10 billion energy efficiency market there. EESL aims to capture much of this by promoting and implementing low-carbon, energy efficiency, and renewable energy solutions along with LEDs.

There is nothing like a national LED conversion program in the U.S. However, many U.S. cities are converting streetlights to LEDs to save millions in energy costs—but it has been slow going. Chicago’s Smart Lighting Project to replace 270,000 light fixtures just launched in April and won’t be completed until 2021. In Washington, D.C., 71,000 streetlights may be replaced under the “Streetlight Modernization Project,” but it will only start in 2018.


India’s renewable energy sector is also growing at lightning speed. At the December 2015 Paris climate conference, Modi astonished many by announcing India would add 160 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar by 2022 to the existing 26 GW. The U.S. currently has just over 100 GW in total. One GW can power 100 million LED lightbulbs used in homes.

“This is an ambitious goal,” says energy expert Niklas Höhne, a founder of NewClimate Institute, a European research center. “There is significant momentum and now two Indian states are considering 100 percent renewable energy, which is remarkable.”

“Green energy is no longer expensive or difficult to build and it is well-suited to our needs,” said Goyal. Given all the benefits, every country should be taking the same path, he said.

India’s solar and wind boom has pushed costs off a cliff, falling from 12 cents a kW/hr to just 4 cents a kW/hr for solar. This is cheaper than coal. As a result, Goyal hope that no new coal power will be needed after 2022. One analysis suggests some of India’s existing coal energy is more expensive to generate than building new solar. India may soon end all imports of thermal coal, Goyal believes.

This gains are especially impressive given India’s substantial economic and social challenges, says Höhne.

As for those 300 million with no access to electricity, that too is changing. The last household will be connected by 2019, Goyal believes, three years before India’s 2022 target.

“Prime Minister Modi grew up poor. He knows what it is like to not have electrical power. He is completely committed to making this happen,” Goyal said.

India’s energy revolution may soon transform the country but it is also creating “solutions that other countries across the world can replicate and use to support their own sustainable energy transition,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO for Sustainable Energy for All and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.


Electric cars are the next big thing India hopes to jump on. It commissioned a study on how the country’s entire fleet of vehicles could be 100 percent electric powered by 2030. This is not an official government target yet.

But by that date, Goyal believes electric cars will be the only vehicles sold because of low operating costs, little maintenance or repairs needed, along with a long life. The batteries will also work very well with solar and wind as energy storage devices. No subsidies will be needed, he said, since India already taxes gasoline at about the world average—50 percent higher than the U.S. does.

“We are doing all of this even if no one else is. We have a big role to play in the fight against climate change,” Goyal said.

Source: National Geographic 25/5/17

This is the Place: how a poem gave voice to Manchester’s grief

Tony Walsh’s poem in full

This is the place
In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best
And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands
Set the whole planet shaking.
Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music
We make brilliant bands
We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel
And we make things from cotton
And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten
And we make you at home
And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen
And we can’t seem to help it
And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.
And make us a record, a new number one
And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on
And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league
And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world
And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride
And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all
Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations
So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.
And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul
And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance
And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.
And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.
And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.
And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.
Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.
Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.
And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.
Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”
Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.
And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?
Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.
Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.

Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

This poem was recited by the author to the people attending a vigil (23/5/17) for the victims of the massacre in Manchester on Monday 22nd May 2017.

Once again I am indebted to ‘The Conversation’ for this blog!!

Fact Check: if 30% more people under 25 vote, could the Conservatives lose the election?

An article on The Independent is being widely shared on social media suggesting that a 30% increase in turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds would make the election of a majority Conservative government on June 8 rather unlikely. It followed a tweet by Alan Firth, a linguist at Newcastle University, commenting on an article by the vice president of the National Union of Students, Shelly Asquith. When contacted by The Conversation, Firth said that the calculations made in The Independent article reflected his own.

For the purpose of this fact check, we will look at whether the Conservatives could lose if turnout of those under 25 were to increase by 30 percentage points. To check whether this really could happen, we need to answer four questions.

First, what are the turnout rates among younger and older voters? The 2015 British Election Study (BES) shows that 57% of 18 to 24-year-olds claimed to have voted in 2015, compared to 76% of people over 25. These figures overestimate actual turnout rates because some people say they voted when they did not (and all surveys tend to over-sample voters).

Because of this, the BES “validates” votes for some people: it checks whether people actually voted. When it did this for 2015, it found that 10% of 18 to 24-year-olds claimed to have voted but did not, while 3% of people over 25 did the same. So if we correct the turnout figures to reflect this, then 47% of 18 to 24-year-olds voted at the last election compared to 73% of those over 25. This gives us a good indication that there is a real difference, a bit shy of 30%, between older and younger voters’ likelihood to vote.

The second question is whether young people and older people vote very differently. Again, the 2015 BES is helpful for showing the longstanding differences between age groups in Britain in vote choice. The graph below shows that younger people are less likely to vote Conservative than older people.


The third question is whether those who did not vote would behave the same way as those that did? The second graph shows the parties that non-voters in 2015 said they would have supported if they had voted, excluding those who said “don’t know”. It appears that the Conservatives actually have less potential support among young non-voters than they do among young voters.


On the face of it then, increasing turnout rates by 30 percentage points among 18 to 24-year-olds should bring voters into the electorate who are quite unlikely to vote Conservative.

But the impact of increasing turnout for those under 25 depends on what proportion of the electorate they make up – my final question. According to the 2011 census, 18 to 24-year-olds make up less than 12% of the electorate.

Imagine that turnout did increase for this group by 30 percentage points, and imagine that only 16% of those previous non-voters voted as they said they would after 2015 and opted for the Conservatives. The Conservatives would get a lower share of the vote, but this effect would be fairly small: the party’s overall share of the vote would fall by slightly over one per cent. This is because anything that affects only 3.6% of the electorate (30% of the 12% of the electorate under 25) can never lead to large shifts in aggregate vote shares.

On the whole, younger non-voters, like everyone else, are also probably more likely to vote Conservative than they were in 2015. A sizeable minority would also pick a party which will at best win one or two seats (according to the 2015 BES, 19% of under-25s voted for UKIP, the Greens or another small party). Taking this into account, the actual effect in first past the post constituency contests would be even smaller.


Even on the generous assumptions here, there really is no way that increasing turnout among such a small number of people – however distinctive their party preferences – can make much difference to an election in which the Conservatives have a poll lead of nearly 20 percentage points over their nearest rival.


Ben Bowman, Teaching Fellow in Comparative Politics, University of Bath

Predicting elections based on polls is a tricky business, but the calculations and arguments made here are logical. Like The Independent, I’m not entirely sure where Alan Firth has got his 30% claim from because I don’t see it in the original article by Shelly Asquith.

Is such a rise possible? About 64% of young people voted in the EU referendum, up around 20% on recent general elections. A further increase would require grassroots organisation to include the most marginalised: 25% of school leavers have fallen off the electoral roll since registration rules were changed in 2014, with black and minority ethnic communities hit hardest.

A word of caution is required, then: a 30% rise would require a groundbreaking social movement, but it would bring along older voters, too. I do not see such a movement yet, and so I agree with the author’s conclusion nationally, and locally as well. Labour will gain about twice as many young votes as the Conservatives but has not done enough to organise this support. For instance, a lot of students vote (69% of students voted in the 2015 general election) and their votes could swing many marginal seats. However, 60% vote in their home constituencies rather than at university and so their vote is diluted. If young people are to be Labour’s base, organising students should be bread-and-butter stuff for party organisers. They might still do it, but the clock is ticking.

Until then, this fact check holds water. The big swing in this election has been UKIP voters to the Conservatives, and there just aren’t enough young people to counterbalance that without a broader movement to Labour and organisation in key marginals.

The Conversation is checking claims made by public figures and in the public domain. Statements are checked by an academic with expertise in the area. A second academic expert then reviews an anonymous copy of the article. Please get in touch if you spot a claim you would like us to check by emailing us at uk-factcheck@theconversation.com. Please include the statement you would like us to check, the date it was made, and a link if possible.

May 18, 2017 11.51am BST

11 footballers who played through the pain barrier (and definitely, definitely shouldn’t have)

 Tim Ellis,FourFourTwo Tue, 16 May 16:51 

Aspen Pharmacare facing fine of £220m for hiking prices

One of the world’s leading drug companies is facing a fine of up to £220 million for increasing the cost of cancer medicines after the EU launched an investigation into alleged price hiking.

The European Commission yesterday opened a formal investigation into Aspen Pharmacare following information that the company had “imposed very significant and unjustified price increases” for five lifesaving drugs.

The Europe-wide investigation marks the first time that the commission has investigated a drug company for excessive pricing. It comes after an investigation by The Times which revealed last month that Aspen had aggressively pursued price rises across Europe after buying the rights to the five cancer drugs from the British company Glaxosmithkline (GSK).

After the deal the price of the leukaemia treatment busulfan rose from £5.20 to £69.02 a pack in England and Wales, an increase of more than 1,200 per cent. Chlorambucil, which is also used to treat leukaemia, rose from £8.36 to £42.87, a 400 per cent increase.

During attempts to increase prices in Spain three years ago emails revealed that Aspen staff discussed destroying stocks of the drugs if health officials did not agree to demands for price rises of up to 4,000 per cent. Officials in Brussels said that they would examine evidence that the South African company’s efforts to secure price rises included warnings that they would stop supplying the drugs and in some countries carrying out the threat.

The commission’s announcement is the latest indication of a global crackdown on “price gouging”. Investigations have been carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority in Britain and new legislation has been designed to tackle the problem.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said that people depended on drugs “to save or prolong our lives” and that “when the price of a drug suddenly goes up by several hundred per cent, this is something the commission may look at. More specifically, in this case we will be assessing whether Aspen is breaking EU competition rules by charging excessive prices for a number of medicines.”

If found guilty Aspen faces a fine of up to 10 per cent of global revenue, which would amount to a maximum of around £220 million based on its current financial results.

The company has already been fined €5.2 million by Italy’s competition watchdog after ruling that it abused a dominant position by raising prices of the cancer drugs by up to 1,500 per cent. Aspen is appealing against that decision. It faces further investigations by competition authorities in Spain and South Africa.

Aspen said that it was not in a position to comment on the commission’s investigation but added that it “reaffirms its commitment to fair and open competition in markets in the EU and around the world”.

It began increasing the price of the cancer drugs after acquiring the marketing rights for the medicines from GSK in 2009. The deal, which included cash and shares in Aspen, made GSK about $2.2 billion.

Aspen was able to impose large price rises in England and Wales by exploiting a loophole in NHS pricing rules. The company avoided a price cap by dropping existing brand names.

In such cases the NHS relies on competition to control prices but, although the drugs were long out of patent, Aspen had no rivals and was effectively free to set the price.

New legislation, which was prompted by a long-running Times investigation exposing this loophole, passed both houses of parliament and received royal assent last month. It gives the health secretary powers to impose lower prices if it is believed that the NHS is being exploited and to demand information from drug companies on the profitability of individual medicines.

Aspen has been accused of threatening to stop supplying the cancer drugs during pricing negotiations in a number of countries including Italy and Spain. In Italy Aspen was accused of deliberately restricting the supply of the medicines while it tried to persuade the health authorities to accept large price increases.

A pharmacist wrote to Aspen to complain that a wholesaler was having to choose which of two families with a child suffering from cancer to give the small amount of medicine available.

In Spain Aspen appears to have carried out its threat and stopped supplying packs for about a year after the health service refused to agree to a price rise in 2014.

Internal emails show that Aspen employees discussed allowing the unsold stock to expire and be destroyed rather than selling it at what it considered to be too low a price.

A GSK spokesman has previously said that the company “has had no involvement in the pricing of these medicines after selling the rights to Aspen”.



Theresa May pledges new vote to end ban on foxhunting.

May 10th 2017,  The Times

Theresa May promised MPs the chance to repeal the 12-year-old ban on foxhunting yesterday as she voiced her personal support for the practice.

The prime minister said that she had “always been in favour of foxhunting” after a Conservative peer claimed that a Tory majority of 50 after the general election, considered by pollsters to be easily within reach, could be enough to overturn the Hunting Act.

Some Tories questioned that assessment but Mrs May’s surprise commitment will rally countryside sports activists to help the party’s election efforts.

A ban on hunting foxes and other wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales was introduced under Tony Blair in 2004, becoming law the following year. Anti-hunting groups say that most voters support it.

Conservative campaign sources had refused to say whether Mrs May would repeat previous manifesto pledges to offer a free vote on overturning the ban.

Some Tories questioned that assessment but Mrs May’s surprise commitment will rally countryside sports activists to help the party’s election efforts.

A ban on hunting foxes and other wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales was introduced under Tony Blair in 2004, becoming law the following year. Anti-hunting groups say that most voters support it.

Conservative campaign sources had refused to say whether Mrs May would repeat previous manifesto pledges to offer a free vote on overturning the ban.

During a visit to a factory in Leeds, she said: “This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against. As it happens, personally I have always been in favour of foxhunting, and we maintain our commitment . . . to allow a free vote. It would allow parliament the opportunity to take the decision on this.”

Mrs May voted against the ban in 2004 and rejected suggestions in 2009, from the astronomer Patrick Moore, that her position showed a “love of cruelty”. “It’s about a method of actually keeping fox numbers down,” she said.

The League Against Cruel Sports accused the prime minister of elitism. “This smacks of a small minority with a cruel hobby wielding an inappropriately large influence over the people in charge,” Eduardo Goncalves, director of the charity, said. “Are we really going to turn the clock back to a time when killing animals for fun was legal?”

Pro-hunting groups, including the Countryside Alliance, welcomed the prime minister’s comments. In a letter to hunt masters, written before the announcement, the Tory peer Lord Mancroft said that “a majority of 50 or more would give us a real opportunity for repeal of the Hunting Act”. Lord Mancroft, chairman of the Council of Hunting Associations, called on hunts to support sympathetic candidates. “This is by far the best opportunity we have had since the ban, and is probably the best we are likely to get in the foreseeable future,” he said. He urged them to help Vote OK, which co-ordinates support for the Tories at elections.

Pro-hunting MPs include Andrea Leadsom, the environment secretary. Tory opponents include Tracey Crouch, the sports minister, Caroline Dinenage, the equality minister, and the former justice minister Dominic Raab. All are patrons of Conservatives Against Fox Hunting. Sir Roger Gale, another patron, said up to 50 Tory MPs had opposed a repeal in the last parliament and there was little to suggest the new intake would be more in favour.