Fact check on:

Unleashing the Great British Underdog: Speech by Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP to Onward

https://www.ukonward.com/opportunitysociety/   11 March 2019

Possibly in a bid for leadership of the Conservative party MP Dominic Raab gave a speech via a new ‘centre-right’ organisation called ‘Onward’.  The full speech can be read following the link above.  Below are some of his statements factchecked against news headlines and his own voting record.  Dominic Raab consistently votes with the government (since May 2015 he has rebelled twice) supporting Conservative policies which work against the ‘underdog’ particularly the disadvantaged young.  Rather than increase opportunity as he suggests, as a keen Brexiteer Mr Raab has campaigned and voted to leave Europe without a deal which would deny the young access to education, training and employment in 27 EU countries whilst damaging our economy for many years to come. He has consistently voted against human rights protections. He has voted for cuts to education including early years Sure Start centres which support disadvantaged families and cuts to further education which support school leavers including the removal of the education maintenance grant which supported students from deprived backgrounds.  He voted against capping rents and making rented homes habitable to the detriment of the vast majority of young people who rent as they cannot afford to buy.  Most significantly he has done nothing to support the very urgent issue of addressing climate change.He supports fracking and fossil fuel extraction which he claims is ‘safe’ and has voted against initiatives to boost green energy.  Opportunity in the market place will be of no use to the next generation unless global warming is acted upon now.  The crisis of climate change will reach a peak within 50 years – well within the lifetime of the young.

Dominic Raab: I got into politics because I love this country, and I want every child… every child… to get their chance to make the best of their potential, and to be a success in life.

Let’s not forget that improving standards of learning …across the whole state education system is the most important building block for improving social mobility.

FACT:  The Sure Start system was established in the late 1990s with a mission to provide help to infants from disadvantaged backgrounds before they started school.  As many as 1,000 Sure Start children’s centres may have been shut down in England since 2010, double the official closure estimates, leaving the UK’s flagship early years programme “hollowed out” and in decline, a study has found. Funding cuts mean access to early years provision varies widely across the country, while many remaining centres offer only a fraction of the services they once did, the trust says, hampering social mobility and resulting in thousands of children missing out on vital services. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/05/1000-sure-start-childrens-centres-may-have-shut-since-2010

Dominic Raab consistently voted for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education.


Dominic Raab:My father was a refugee to Britain. He arrived aged 6 with no English… but he made the best of his abilities and became a food marketing manager at M&S. There he met a clothes buyer, my Mum. They married and had my sister and me. This country gave my father a second chance. Maybe, that’s why he was one of the proudest Brits I knew.

I want to see all our kids, everywhere, have the chance that my Dad had, that I had, to make a success of themselves – based on their abilities and hard-graft.


FACT: Dominic Raab voted against bringing 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe to the UK.  25.4.16

Voted against greater international efforts through the United Nations to secure the position of refugees across the Middle East and against the UK playing a full role, with others in providing sanctuary.  9.9.15


Dominic Raab:The first principle of a fair society is that is doesn’t discriminate on grounds of race, religion, gender or sexuality. That’s essential, but it’s not enough.


FACT:  “Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots” Dominic Raab quote 2011  https://leftfootforward.org/2018/07/top-five-awful-things-done-by-the-new-brexit-secretary-dominic-raab/


Dominic Raab:The Gove revolution with its focus on phonics, numeracy and literacy, academic rigour, and greater freedom for head-teachers to pioneer new ways of running schools has been a huge success.

Because of Michael Gove’s reforms, we’ve seen literacy standards rise by 40% since 2012, when we introduced phonics. More broadly, we have 1.9 million more children in schools deemed good or outstanding.


The improved screening test results are very welcome and reflect great credit on the previous [Labour]government, which introduced a strong emphasis on the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics (SSP).  Sept 2014 https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/sep/25/phonics-test-results-credit-government


In 2012 Ofsted changed their inspections practices and removed ‘satisfactory’ which resulted in the majority of schools previously rated satisfactory moving up to ‘good or outstanding’.



Dominic Raab:Now, I’m not saying academic scores are the only thing that matter. Far from it. We need to be looking at our children in a much more rounded way. And that includes appreciating the value of sport, music, drama and art in building up self-confidence and self-esteem … particularly for young people from tough neighbourhoods, or difficult family circumstances.

FACT: The proportion of 15- and 16-year-olds in England studying arts subjects such as music and drama has fallen to the lowest level in a decade as a result of government policies and education cuts, figures show.  Sept 2017



Dominic Raab: We should build on T Levels, by expanding and promoting degree apprenticeships, like the flagship one offered by Jaguar Land Rover partnered with Warwick University.

Degree Apprenticeships allow young people to combine working with acquiring a vocational degree, but without the fifty-thousand pounds of debt the average student racks up after a normal degree.

FACT:  Dominic Raab voted against paying child benefit in respect of those undertaking a statutory apprenticeship … and against requiring local councils to make payments to those who were in their care who undertake statutory apprenticeships.  19.4.17  [Child benefit allows the young person from a poor background to be supported in the family home whilst they undertake a low paid apprenticeship]

You can see Dominic Raab’s full voting record here.