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Former Welsh Secretary condemns Tory ‘ill discipline’ and warns against lurch rightwards

05 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland. Picture by Jacob King / PA Wire

A lurch to the right after the election would be “disastrous” for the Conservatives, Sir Robert Buckland has warned after losing his seat.

The Conservatives are poised for a record defeat, according to an exit poll predicting a Labour landslide.

Sir Robert, a former Welsh Secretary and justice secretary, became the first Tory big beast casualty of the night, losing the Swindon South constituency to Labour.

Competing factions of the Conservative Party are expected to start vying over its political direction in the aftermath of the General Election.


But Sir Robert warned a lurch rightwards “would be a disastrous mistake and it would send us into the abyss, and gift Labour government for many years”.

He also took aim at those already arguing over the Tories’ future, telling the BBC: “We can see articles being written before a vote is cast at the General Election about the party heading for defeat and what the prognosis should be.

“It is spectacularly unprofessional, ill-disciplined.”

Asked if he was speaking about an article written by Conservative former home secretary Suella Braverman, Sir Robert replied: “I am afraid that is not an isolated example.”

Speaking to S4C, Sir Robert later said he expects Rishi Sunak to “contemplate the enormity” of the situation.

The former Welsh secretary added that “I think I deserve a drink” after being “sacked on live television”.


Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg had earlier signalled his interest in a different direction for the Tories after the poll results are counted.

He claimed it would be “interesting” to see whether Nigel Farage can achieve “a realignment of the right in British politics”.

He also sought to blame “issues with changing the leader” of the party during the last Parliament for the Conservatives’ woes.

In reference to ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the former cabinet minister told the BBC: “Voters expect the prime minister they have chosen to remain the prime minister and for it to be the voters who decide when that person is changed.”

The Tories, who have been in power since 2010, are set to be banished to the opposition benches of the House of Commons, with exit polling suggesting their numbers will be reduced to 131 seats, a loss of 241 MPs.

This would be its lowest number of MPs on record.

In 2019, under Mr Johnson the party won 365 seats, with majority of 80.

That total is set to be dwarfed by the result expected for Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour by the end of the night, which is predicted to win power with a total of 410 seats, according to the poll.


Mr Sunak has sought to portray himself as upbeat, only arguing on Wednesday – the final day of campaigning – he was an “underdog” who was fighting until the “final whistle”.

But the exit poll, the final test of public opinion on the night of the election count, has laid bare the scale of devastation the Tories face.

At risk of losing their seats are several prominent Cabinet ministers, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.

Godalming and Ash, the constituency Mr Hunt is contesting, is 81% likely to go to the Lib Dems, while Mr Shapps is set to lose his Welwyn Hatfield seat to Labour with a 94% likelihood.

Justice Secretary Mr Chalk is all but certain to lose his Cheltenham constituency to the Lib Dems, though Ms Keegan’s Chichester seat is a possible Conservative hold.

Portsmouth North, where Labour is challenging Ms Mordaunt, is too close to call according to the pollsters.

The Guardian newspaper has even reported Mr Sunak is privately worried about winning his Richmond and Northallerton constituency, though according to the exit poll he is 99% likely to win.

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17 days ago

I wish I cared what the Viceroy for Wales though. Boo hoo hoo Imperialist Uncl Twm. 😁

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