This morning, nearly 42 next generation Conservative MPs from the 2015 and 2017 intakes backed Onward’s landmark report into the age gap in British politics, Generation Why?: What is driving the age gap in British politics and how the centre right should respond, and called for the party’s next manifesto to focus on winning over the “missing millions” of young centre right considerers.
The 42 Next Generation MPs said:
“We are from the 2015 and 2017 intakes.
“New polling for Onward shows that there are three million young people who say they would consider voting Conservative – but are not currently planning to. The party needs to reach out to these missing millions.
“The next Conservative manifesto must have strong policies to help young people get on in life. It must reach out to all parts of the country and all communities too. The Conservative party is at its best when it is a party for the whole nation.”
The new intake MPs who signed the statement were:
Bim Afolami, Ben Bradley, Suella Braverman, Jack Brereton, Alex Burghart, Alex Chalk, Colin Clark, Simon Clark, Robert Courts, Leo Docherty, Steve Double, Vicky Ford, Luke Graham, Bill Grant, Kirstene Hair, Trudy Harrison, Simon Hoare, Kevin Hollinrake, Eddie Hughes, Caroline Johnson, Gillian Keegan, Stephen Kerr, John Lamont, Julia Lopez, Rachel Maclean, Scott Mann, Paul Masterton, Johnny Mercer, Huw Merriman, Damian Moore, Neil O’Brien, Rebecca Pow, Victoria Prentis, Tom Pursglove, Douglas Ross, Bob Seely, Derek Thomas, Michael Tomlinson, Mike Wood.
This followed endorsements from a host of current and former Ministers, including 6 serving Cabinet Ministers
Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Health Secretary, said:
“I believe in my heart that the Conservatives can and should be a party for all – and that means all ages. But this research tells it to us clear and straight: we have to work harder to bring people with us as we work towards a positive, optimistic and outward-looking future for the UK.
“We need to be a party that isn’t just comfortable with modern Britain but champions modern Britain. The alternative is Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in No 10 – with the catastrophic consequences for our security and peoples’ livelihoods that would bring.”
Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Foreign Secretary, said:
“Onward’s comprehensive and detailed work is clear about the challenges we face but also points to a huge opportunity for the Conservative Party.
“Our record in office – turning round the economy, creating a thousand jobs a day – mean we should be the natural political home for the next generation.”
“Our focus on enterprise, public services, family and home ownership are values we hold in common with younger people. It’s up to us to demonstrate our priorities are connected with the lives of young people today.”
Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Home Secretary, said:
“Unless we can win over younger and ethnic minority voters we cannot achieve a majority at the next election. It’s as simple as that.”
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, said:
“Onward’s work highlights the vital importance of understanding and addressing young people’s concerns.
“It’s clear that young people want to see Government taking action on the environment. That’s why at DEFRA we are working to improve air quality in the most polluted areas, tackling the scourge of harmful single-use plastics and leading the way in protecting the world’s oceans and precious marine life.
“These are policies which everyone can get behind as we seek to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”
Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Secretary of State for International Development, said:
“The results of this important poll should shake politics awake from any lazy assumptions about what people think and why they think it. If we want to – and we must – restore trust and meet the ambitions of the British people, it is vital to listen and act swiftly.
“The Party needs to refocus on winning over younger generations who are turning away from the centre right in unprecedented numbers, especially the many young women who will now not even consider voting Conservative. We should recognise the requirement of being a One Nation party and our platform must be based on the concerns and aspirations of all, especially the most marginalised.”
Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“Far from being commune-dwelling Corbynistas, this research shows young people more in favour of low taxes, enterprise and public service reform than their parents. They also have a powerful sense of fairness, and want to see barriers broken down everyone given a fair shot in life.
“These are Conservative values. By lowering taxes, opening up land to build more houses and breaking down barriers to success, we’re taking the fight to Labour and winning over a new generation.”
Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, the former Secretary of State for Leaving the EU, said:
“This polling sends a very clear message about the challenge for the Conservatives, but also the opportunity to broaden our appeal amongst young aspirational voters. It is absolutely crucial we grasp it.”
Guy Opperman MP, Pensions Minister, said:
“Political parties win when they reach into the centre ground; they lose when they retreat to their base. As Onward’s study illustrates, the Conservative Party must be bold and adapt to win over younger generations. The 3 million potential voters under the age of 35 that Onward identifies give us 3 million reasons to do so.”
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