“More police, cleaner hospitals, lower taxes, school discipline, controlled immigration, accountability” – their 5 pledges makes the front cover of the Conservatives’ Manifesto for the 2005 General Election.
The Welsh version of the Tory manifesto was launched in Cardiff by Party Leader Michael Howard, where he spoke about the “clear choice” facing the people of Wales – “lower taxes and better public services with the Conservatives, or more talk from Mr Blair.”
Key pledges included an extra 5,000 police offers across England & Wales, closing the earning gap between Wales and the rest of the UK, lower taxes and less regulation, and hold a referendum to let the electorate decide on the future of the National Assembly.
Although Tony Blair was returned as Prime Minister with Labour holding 355 MPs, the Conservatives did gain ground, managing to return 198 MPs – 32 more than they had previously. In Wales, the Conservatives were up to three from zero in the previous two elections.