Tories clinging to Johnson due to ‘patronising’ attitude towards seats in Wales and the north of England says peer
Conservatives are clinging to Boris Johnson due to a “patronising” attitude towards so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats in Wales and the north of England, a member of the House of Lords has said.
Camilla Cavendish, a former director of policy for David Cameron, said that keeping Boris Johnson was based on the assumption that his challengers may not be able to retain the electoral coalition that saw him win in traditional Conservatives seats as well as sats in Wales, the Midlands and northern England.
However, writing in the Financial Times she said that the “mythical” status of these seats and the “the patronising assumptions that Westminster makes about them” were “misplaced”.
“[No 10] has spent hours working out how to look tough on crime and Channel-crossing migrants, proud of the armed forces and generous to the NHS” in order to appeal to an imagined voter she described as “a van-driving, good-hearted sort of bloke who supposedly loves the fact that every minister now appears in front of the Union Jack”
“The reality is far more nuanced, as you would expect from constituencies which encompass affluent industrial bases and areas of high deprivation,” she said.
“On issues from climate change to gender-neutral toilets, YouGov surveys have found that red wall voters have very similar views to the wider electorate.”
Camilla Cavendish added that having “de-snobified” the Tory party, what had been most damaging about the ‘partygate’ scandal was that it had tarnished Boris Johnson’s reputation as someone who would take on the Westminster establishment.
“What Downing Street has missed is the importance of fairness to voters who believe in working hard and playing by the rules,” she said. “That may be especially true of the older ‘leave’ voters who Johnson united under a Tory banner.
“Those who voted to take back control from overpaid, overbearing Brussels, thought Boris was a kindred spirit. But with partygate, the billions apparently lost to fraud in Covid contracts and the doomed attempt to defend former MP Owen Patterson against lobbying breaches, the prime minister has come to look exactly like the arrogant southern elite he once railed against.”
A series of recent polls have projected that the Conservatives would lose so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats won in the north-east of Wales in 2019. They would include Wrexham, Delyn, Clwyd South, the Vale of Clwyd.
Seats outside the ‘Red Wall’ such as Ynys Mon, Bridgend, Aberconwy, Clwyd West, Vale of Clwyd, Preseli Pembrokeshire, and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, would also be toppled according to these projections.
Over the last few days speculation has mounted that potential challengers to Boris Johnson, including Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat, are preparing the ground for possible leadership contests.
The i has splashed today with news that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has built a draft version of a campaign website and developed a marketing strategy.
Yesterday Tom Tugendhat became the first to say he would throw his hat into the ring if there were a Conservative party leadership contest.
The MP for Tonbridge and Malling and chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee said it would be a “huge privilege” to serve as prime minister.
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