'Our Party Is A Toxic Mix Of Complacency, Entitlement And Exhaustion,' Says Tory MP

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Johnson, Bowie and Cameron (Photo: Getty)
Johnson, Bowie and Cameron (Photo: Getty)

Johnson, Bowie and Cameron (Photo: Getty)

A Conservative MP has described his own party as a “toxic” mix of complacency, entitlement, fear and exhaustion.

Andrew Bowie gave a damning assessment of Boris Johnson’s government, asking: “Where’s the big idea?”

Writing for ConservativeHome website, Bowie said he was driven into politics aged 18 when he heard David Cameron on the radio talking about building a “modern, compassionate” Conservative party.

However, he said something had “gone wrong” and his party needed to “think radically” and “be bold”.

The Scottish MP was among the 148 Conservative MPs who voted against Johnson in Monday night’s confidence vote. 

He wrote: “We see evident now in the Conservative Party, my party, a strange mix of complacency, entitlement, fear and exhaustion.

“Complacency bred from the fact that the Labour Party, after more than a decade in turmoil and opposition pose no electoral threat.

“Entitlement bred from the comfort of office and power.

“Fear bred from the nagging doubt that we might actually be wrong, and that years on the opposition benches await.

“And exhaustion from twelve hard years of government that have seen economic crises, migrant crises, an independence referendum in Scotland, Brexit, snap elections, a global pandemic and war in Europe.”

Bowie said it was a “toxic combination” made even more difficult by the need to keep on side the majority of that “unwieldy coalition” of electors that returned the Conservatives to government in 2019.

The MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine also hit out at the government’s talk of “lowering tax” while increasing national insurance.

He said they had entered into a race with the Labour Party on who could spend more and added: “Where’s the spirit of 2005? Where’s the big idea? What’s the challenge to us? What’s the offer to the country?”

In thinly veiled criticism of the culture wars, he added: “We need to be proud of ourselves and our past, but understanding of different opinions of it.”

He added: “We need to talk to a new generation in the same way Cameron, Osborne, and yes for eight great years, Boris did in London.”

It comes after Johnson won a confidence vote in his leadership by 211 to 148 - revealing more than 40 per cent of his MPs want him gone.

Allies have rallied round him, but former Tory leader Lord Hague said “the damage done to his premiership is severe” and he should quit rather than prolong the agony.

Meanwhile, his former Brexit minister Lord Frost warned Johnson has until the autumn to set out a clear Conservative vision for the future or face being ousted by his own MPs.

Lord Frost said the PM could not afford to ignore the “depth of opposition” he faces within his own party.

The scale of the opposition was greater than that seen in 2018 when Theresa May faced a confidence vote. She was ultimately forced out within months.

Johnson faces further tests with tricky by-elections on June 23 in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton in Devon.

The PM has sought to draw a line under his leadership woes by announcing a “benefits to bricks” scheme to allow welfare payments to secure mortgages.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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