David Davis blames Tory election disaster on ‘badly designed’ campaign and social care U-turn

David Davis has blamed the Conservative Party’s general election disaster on a ‘badly designed’ campaign.

The Brexit secretary admitted that prime minister Theresa May’s U-turn on social care had also lost the Tories votes.

His comments came on the same day that former Conservatives chairman Grant Shapps described the party’s manifesto as ‘appalling’.

Mr Davis, speaking at The Times CEO Summit, credited Labour for galvanising the youth vote using a ‘ferocious and powerful’ social media campaign.

But when talking about the Tories, he said: ‘What went wrong was a badly designed campaign.

David Davis made his comments at The Times CEO Summit on Tuesday (Picture: PA)

‘We started with a significant lead. She started with a very sizeable personal lead and both of those were undermined by a set of relatively simple mistakes.’

Mr Davis said the surprise decision to call a snap election meant preparations were ‘collapsed into a couple of weeks’.

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He added: ‘Some very significant mistakes were made. The social care proposals pretty much switched off a very large Tory vote in the elderly sector.

‘The proposals on doing away with free school meals for certain categories of children hit another Tory vote sector in the middle age group.

‘That, then, just knocked the whole campaign off balance and forced us into a U-turn which in turn undermined her standing, and the rest is history.’

Theresa May paid dearly for her U-turn on social care, said Mr Davis (Picture: PA)

Mr Davis said the Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks meant plans to focus on Brexit and the economy were ditched.

‘There’s no way you can plan for that,’ he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to BBC’s Today programme on Tuesday, Mr Shapps said the Conservative Party’s confidence and supply deal with the DUP, worth an extra £1 billion to Northern Ireland, was ‘extraordinarily frustrating’.

He said: ‘We didn’t need to be here.

Tory MP Grant Shapps also criticised the manifesto (Picture: Rex)

‘I think we had – obviously – an unnecessary election, and actually the world’s worst manifesto from the world’s oldest political party.’

Like Mr Davis, Mr Shapps said it was a mistake to push social care reform.

‘We forgot the lessons from previous campaigns and in particular launched a manifesto which was just appalling.

Mrs May’s joint chiefs, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, resigned after the election (Picture: PA)

‘We didn’t have a single person in charge of the campaign. We forgot to build a team of activists… and we had a manifesto that not only wasn’t collaborative in its creation, but also didn’t have popular and appealing policies.

‘Instead it had a long list of punishments for the public… and that of course is a massive mistake.’

Mrs May’s joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, were forced to resign after the disastrous campaign.