The district’s only remaining Tory MP has set out what he believes the Party should do to win back a majority at the next election – whenever that may be.
Shipley MP Philip Davies blasted the election campaign as “one of the worst in Conservative Party history” and said starting with a 22 per cent lead and ending just two per cent ahead of Labour “tells you everything you need to know.”
He said: “Not surprisingly the election result was a disaster – but it certainly came as no surprise to those of us who spent all day every day knocking on doors. For any analysis of where the Conservative Party went wrong in the 2017 General Election, all roads lead to the manifesto.
“Now we need to look at where we go from here. People are fed up with austerity.”
The strong and stable leadership mantra changed into a laughable claim after the denied u-turn on social care and Theresa May’s refusal to take part in leader debates, Mr Davies said.
He believes the Party should focus on; reducing overseas aid to the 2010 level in turn spending that cash on social care and public services, giving public sector pay workers a pay rise, abolishing tuition fees but reducing the numbers that go to University, deliver a clean Brexit including leaving the single market and ensure people who work hard and save are not penalised.
Mr Davies said an effective seven year pay freeze meant public sector workers had done their part in reducing the deficit.
He added: “In 2010 people knew there was no alternative to austerity. However, after seven years of having no pay rises, most public sector workers – not unreasonably – thought there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. We offered them nothing but more of the same – in effect telling them that the public sector pay cap would be in place until at least 2025. No wonder they decided that was an offer they could refuse.”
The Shipley MP has long called for fewer students to go to University but for fees to be paid for those that do to ensure talented youngsters from poorer backgrounds do not miss out due to massive fees. University would be for the most academic and there would be more skills based or vocational training for others wanting to pursue different careers. Mr Davies believes this would win back trust of young people and their families given it was the Labour party that introduced fees and the Conservatives who voted against.
Also all policies should reward and not penalise savers. The so-called dementia tax was a game changer on the doorstep with people angry over the Prime Minister’s plans on paying for social care changes to winter fuel allowance and the triple local on pensions, he said.
“Within hours of the launch, the change on the doorstep was palpable,” Mr Davies said.
“All policies should pass the test of rewarding not penalising savers. This was why the policies for pensioners was so toxic – many had done the right thing all their life and were fed up of being penalised for that and picking up the tab for those who hadn’t. The Conservative Party should always stand up for those who have always worked hard and saved hard.”
The six points in full
1. Cut Overseas aid back to the amount spent in 2010. Spending more and more money on overseas aid when we need the money in the UK is not only idiotic – it is toxic with the voters.
2. Use the money from cutting overseas aid (the budget for which is now about £13bn – almost double what it was in 2010) to spend on social care, schools and the police/security services.
3. Deliver a clean clear Brexit – ie leaving the Single Market, ending free movement of people, no laws made in Brussels and no money handed over to the EU budget. Prioritise a free trade deal with the EU (and other countries around the world) as an alternative. If we do not deliver this clean clear Brexit we will never be trusted by the British public again. This is not only our route to electoral success; failure to deliver it would provide an existential threat to the Conservative Party.
4. Always reward and never penalise savers and those who have done the right things all through their lives. All policies must pass that test. This was why the policies for pensioners was so toxic – many had done the right thing all their life and were fed up of being penalised for that and picking up the tab for those who hadn’t. The Conservative Party should always stand up for those who have always worked hard and saved hard.
5. Abolish university tuition fees and reduce the number of people going to university. One of Jeremy Corbyn’s most successful – and most unaffordable – fantasy land election bribes was to promise to abolish all tuition fees and to write off all outstanding student debt. It seems to have been forgotten that Labour introduced tuition fees – and the Conservative Party voted against them! Tuition fees were introduced to increase the numbers going to university. I feel that too many people are put on the education conveyer belt to university and so I think we should reduce the numbers who go to university but ensure their tuition fees are fully paid. This would win back support for the Conservative Party from many young people and also be affordable.
6. Give a pay rise to public sector workers. A seven year effective pay freeze means public sector workers have done their bit to help deal with the deficit, and they now deserve a pay rise.