Senior Tory MP: Conservative Party 'revolution' needed to stop Jeremy Corbyn winning power

Jack Maidment
Robert Halfon, the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party - X90073

The Conservatives must undergo a “radical, counter-intuitive revolution” if they are to stop Jeremy Corbyn winning power, a former party deputy chairman has claimed.

Robert Halfon said that while voters back Labour “with their hearts” they support the Tories with “gritted teeth”.

The former education minister, sacked from the role after the election, said the party must make itself more attractive, particularly to younger voters, as he cautioned that a failure to take action will leave the Tories facing an electoral “precipice”.

Mr Halfon, who served as deputy chairman of the party from May 2015 until July last year, said the Conservatives face a battle to avoid political extinction.

He told the House magazine: “I’m normally an incrementalist, I’m not a confrontational politician. But I actually think we need a radical, counter-intuitive revolution in the Conservative party if we are to survive.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader Credit: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

He added: “The big problem we have is that people won’t vote for us with their hearts.

“They vote for Labour with their hearts, which is why so many young people are supportive of them… people vote Conservative with gritted teeth, not because they feel passionate about it.”

Mr Halfon has suggested the Conservatives should change their logo to a ladder to show the Tories help people get on in life and act to get members more involved in the creation of party policy.

He said: “If we don’t radically reform our messaging, our machinery, if we don’t focus on policies that really are there to help the lower paid, which are supported by people in metropolitan areas, I think we’ll face a precipice, Corbyn will be in No 10.”

He stressed the importance of persuading young people to back the Tories as he warned the party is “not attracting new members” and is reliant on “the same people who were involved 20 years ago”.

Mr Halfon previously said the Conservatives needed to create their own version of the Momentum activist campaign group which has been a vocal supporter of Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party.

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The MP for Harlow said the Tories have a “massive” problem when it comes to young people.

He said many are supporting Mr Corbyn because they believe it is “noble” to back a party “whose main mission is to help the underdog”.

He said: “When the perception of the other main party is that it’s just for those well-off, why would you not want to do it, especially when you’re young and idealistic.”

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