Labour could be in power for 20 years if voters ‘get this wrong’, says senior Tory

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and the shadow cabinet
Labour has promised to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in all elections - Stefan Rousseau/PA

A Tory minister has said that Labour could be in power for 20 years if voters “get this wrong”.

Sir Mark Spencer, the farming minister, also claimed Labour would “change the voting system” in order to boost its chances of staying in office if it wins the election.

In its manifesto, Sir Keir Starmer’s party has promised to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in all elections – a move likely to improve its prospects, with younger voters tending to hold Left-wing views.

In the past week, senior Tories have warned against a Labour “super-majority”, with polls suggesting a Labour landslide could be bigger than that achieved by Sir Tony Blair in 1997.

Mr Spencer told Times Radio: “There are people out there who have serious concerns about what a Labour government will do, about how they will tax working people up and down the country and, of course, how if we get a Labour government they could be there for a very long time.

“Because of course they will change the voting system, they will make sure that they give votes to 16-year-olds, they have talked about giving votes to foreign nationals, to EU nationals… we could end up with a Labour government for 20 years if we get this wrong at this general election.

“That is why we are out there fighting for every single vote, right up to polling day.”

Sir Keir has ruled out giving out votes to EU citizens in an about-turn on a previous pledge made during his Labour leadership campaign in 2020.

Introducing votes at 16 years old is part of a package of constitutional reforms in the Labour manifesto that also include “immediate” House of Lords reform as well as the “modernisation” of the Commons.

Plans to give votes to settled migrants, a policy that has been adopted by the Liberal Democrats, had been expected to feature in the Labour manifesto.

However, they were absent from the policies drawn up by the party’s National Policy Forum, which comprises leading Labour politicians and union leaders, in the run-up to last year’s annual party conference in Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Mr Spencer insisted the Tories were not actively pursuing a strategy of damaging limitation as the most pessimistic forecasts suggest the party could be reduced to a rump of only dozens of MPs after July 4.

“No one has ever told me to take that line at all,” he said. “That certainly is not something that I would be comfortable with. I want to fight for every vote.”

He also distanced himself from remarks made by Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, who said it was “unlikely” if still possible that the Tories could retain power, saying: “There are three weeks to go, we are fighting for every vote, we are out there every single day banging on doors trying to get our message across.”