Grant Shapps insists Tories CAN win the general electionMay 14, 2023
Cabinet minister Grant Shapps blasts back at Priti Patel’s claim Rishi Sunak is overseeing a ‘managed decline’ of the Conservative Party and insists Tories CAN win the general election
- Energy Secretary insists there’s a ‘steely determination’ within Tory ranks
Cabinet minster Grant Shapps today hit back at claims Rishi Sunak is overseeing the ‘managed decline’ of the Tories following their drubbing in the local elections.
The upbeat Energy Secretary insisted there was a ‘steely determination’ within Conservative ranks to deliver on the Prime Minister’s five priorities and claimed the party was ‘buzzing with energy and ideas’.
He also said it was wrong to suggest it is ‘written in the stars’ that the Tories cannot win the next general election, despite Labour’s sizeable opinion poll lead.
Mr Shapps faced questions about Tory fortunes after the party’s loss of more than 1,000 council seats in local elections across England.
This weekend has seen Mr Sunak hit by a barrage of criticism from within the Conservative Party as activists and MPs gathered in Bournemouth for a conference organised by some of ex-PM Boris Johnson’s biggest backers.
Priti Patel, the former home secretary, spoke at yesterday’s event and – ahead of the gathering – she took a swipe at the current Tory leadership.
Grant Shapps insisted there was a ‘steely determination’ within Conservative ranks to deliver on the Prime Minister’s five priorities
Priti Patel, the former home secretary, spoke at yesterday’s Conservative Democratic Organisation event in Bournemouth
Mr Shapps insisted there was a ‘steely determination’ within Conservative ranks to deliver on the five priorities of Rishi Sunak, pictured yesterday at Southampton vs Fulham
Jacob Rees-Mogg claims Tories will be ‘toast’ if they ditch Rishi Sunak
Jacob Rees-Mogg today reiterated his view that the Tories made a ‘mistake’ in ousting Boris Johnson – but warned against moves to get rid of Rishi Sunak.
The former business secretary, one of Mr Johnson’s loyalist supporters, urged Conservatives to pledge their support to the Prime Minister.
He claimed the party would be ‘toast’ if it changed leader for the third time between general elections.
Asked on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday show it it was a mistake to get rid of Mr Johnson, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘Yes, of course it was, I have said that a million times but it would be an even bigger mistake now to get rid of Rishi Sunak.
‘The Conservatives cannot keep changing leaders, we must back the leader we have got.
‘The Tory party would be toast if we changed leader again.
‘We have got to support the leader we’ve got.
‘But that doesn’t mean that we agree with him on every policy – and to have a debate about policy is important and I hope interesting for Conservative members in the country at large.’
‘The party in its current form, the parliamentary party, seems to want to manage status quo and manage decline,’ Ms Patel said.
Ms Patel added that ‘if we carry on with managed decline there won’t be a future for conservative values and beliefs’.
Fellow Boris loyalist Nadine Dorries also used the conference to attack Mr Sunak’s leadership.
But, appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday show this morning, Mr Shapps shot back at the criticism.
‘Well, look, I simply don’t agree,’ the Energy Secretary said, as he reflected on the local elections result.
‘If you look at any party after a time in office, if you compared us – for example – with where (Tony) Blair and (Gordon) Brown were through their period… we still have far more councillors in place than they would have done during the same point of the electoral cycle.
‘So this idea that there is something written in the stars, that somehow we cannot come back and win from our particular position at the moment, I completely and fundamentally disagree with.’
Asked about the mood within Tory ranks following the local elections, Mr Shapps was also upbeat.
‘Of course we have a great opportunity because we know that we’re buzzing with ideas,’ he added.
‘We’ve got a lot of energy to get things done still, but of course there are many, many challenges facing the country – and by the way they’d be facing whoever, whomever was in power at this point in time.
‘I think we’ve got the ideas, but also the practical solutions – not to say, there aren’t many challenges along the way.
‘I think that the mood is one of steely determination, I think… we know that there’s a job to do, that we’re on the side of the British people.’
Mr Shapps later said it was not a ‘shocking revelation’ that there were cheers for Mr Johnson among the Tory grassroots.
‘The fact that Boris Johnson, who was our prime minister, is clapped by Conservative MPs… is not I think a shocking revelation,’ he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.
The Cabinet minister also urged people to give the PM time to meet his five pledges on the economy, NHS and Channel migrant crisis.
‘I accept they are difficult and very detailed pledges,’ he added.
‘These are not vague numbers… It is difficult. I thought it was always going to be difficult.
‘The PM set out his five pledges… and he is still absolutely, and we are still absolutely, committed to delivering those things.’
Mr Shapps called on people to ‘wait until the end of that trajectory’ to judge Mr Sunak’s progress.
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