There are five things the PM must do to get Sun readers’ votes — and to ensure the Tory party’s survival

2019-01-23T12:54:44+00:00 May 18th, 2018|Blog, News Summaries, The Sun|

The next general election is still a few years away.

But the challenge for the Conservative Party is already clear. It needs to change to survive.

Prime Minister Theresa May won as many votes last year as Margaret Thatcher did in her prime.

She earned the party its biggest share of working-class votes since 1979.

The Conservatives are now back ahead in the polls.

But across some of the parts of the population that are growing the fastest, the Conservatives are still trailing behind Labour.

In last year’s General Election, Jeremy Corbyn’s Little Red Book did not just win over university students.

He also won over half of people in their thirties.

A recent poll showed only nine per cent of those aged 25 to 39 say they will definitely vote Conservative.

The Conservatives are behind among people who rent their homes privately — and there are twice the number doing that as there were in 2000.

Nearly four times as many people from ethnic minority communities voted Labour than voted Tory — and those different communities are a growing part of our population.

So if the Conservative Party does not broaden its reach, it is finished. It is that simple.

That does not mean the Prime Minister should copy Corbyn’s empty promises.

Let’s not forget that Labour’s most recent manifesto proposed to raise taxes to their highest level since World War Two.

Or that Corbyn’s plans to borrow huge, unprecedented sums of money to embark on a spending spree would put a millstone of debt around the necks of younger people.

Or that the only thing he wants to cut is our defence budget — and from the Falklands to Russia, he has a bad habit of siding with Britain’s enemies.

The Tories have spent eight years cleaning up the mess Labour left behind. We do not want to repeat their mistakes.

We remember the dangerous situation where the Government was borrowing a quarter of all the money it spent.

We did the hard yards slashing the dole queues Labour left behind, and now we have got more people in work than ever before.

But we can not just rest on our record. There are five big challenges we need to solve if we are going to deserve the votes of Sun readers at the next election.

The FIRST is obvious — we have to make a success of Brexit. We should ignore pompous members of the House of Lords who say we should just override the democratic result of the referendum.

But we should make sure we listen when businesses and exporters say they want sensible arrangements to keep business flowing between Britain and Europe. That’s exactly what the PM is negotiating.

The SECOND is to give young people at least the same chances to get on in life that older people have enjoyed.

That means reversing 15 years of falling home ownership and building more homes that young working people can afford.

But it also means reforming taxes to focus on growing the number of homeowners, not just expanding the amount of rented property.

The THIRD challenge is to build a united Britain and make the Conservative Party feel like the natural home for working people, whatever their race or religion.

We believe we must continue to strongly control immigration and stop illegal immigration. But we also believe in making sure everyone can feel part of Britain.

We admire those who have come here with nothing and built amazing businesses — and we know that the Conservative priorities of enterprise, family and education are often their priorities, too.

Many feel very patriotic about this great country that is now their home. That is why we, as a party, must do much more to reach out to ethnic minority communities.

It is why, in government, we must make sure that everyone, no matter their background, gets help to speak good English so they can get a good job and be part of a united country.

FOURTH, we need to do much more to help places that have suffered in recent decades. Not just by aiding big cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham — some of which are now growing faster than London.

But also by tackling deprivation in the neglected smaller towns and coastal communities where opportunities have been hard to come by for years.

FIFTH, we must build an economy that really does work for everyone, not just the well-off.

It is brilliant that unemployment is at a 40-year low. But wages fell a long way in the last recession and though they are growing, working people have been through a very difficult decade.

Policies such as the National Living Wage and tax cuts for the lower-paid have helped those who want to work, earn more and keep more of their earnings.

But now we have to find ways to raise average wages and help businesses invest in their workers.

Government should be taking more of a role in helping people to retrain between jobs or to work in new industries to reduce the impact of new technology.

And we must do more to help working families with everyday costs of living. That means cutting high energy bills and helping working families who face some of the most expensive childcare in the developed world.

If we do these things and govern always in the interests of working people, we can beat Corbyn’s tried-and-failed 1970s politics.

By becoming the party for working people, the Conservative Party can earn a solid majority and make Britain fairer — and more united.

Will Tanner is director of Conservative think tank Onward – which launches on Monday – and former deputy head of the No10 policy unit. Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston.