Only a General Election will shake the Tories' extremism - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Richard Wilson, Chair, Leeds for Europe, Roundhay, Leeds.

I SHARE Deputy Business Editor Greg Wright’s desire to see traditional ‘One Nation’ Conservatism make an appearance in the party’s leadership battle (‘Tories must remember compassionate conservatism’, Business, The Yorkshire Post, July 14).

The kind of ‘One Nation’ Toryism Greg describes is much more pro-European in its outlook than the party in its current guise. After all, this was once the party of Winston Churchill, who founded the European Movement UK – which today has former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine as its President.

It was also the party of a Margaret Thatcher, who recognised the enormous opportunities for British prosperity derived from participation in the European Single Market.

Picture: PA.

I’d challenge other readers to spot signs of this traditionally mainstream strand of Conservatism in today’s wreck of a Conservative Party. One of Boris Johnson’s few achievements (from his point of view) was ridding the party of many of its best and most moderate MPs.

Mr Johnson was only kept in place for as long as he was by support from the party’s hard right, as typified by the Brextremists’ laughably-named “European Research Group”. Sadly for us all, his successor is likely to look to them for support too.

As Greg Wright says: “Nobody, it seems, expects to win by appealing to the more liberal wing of the Conservative Party.”

YouGov conducts regular polling on the topic of Brexit. It proves its growing unpopularity among the population overall. For example, now only two per cent say Brexit has gone “very well”.

But when you look at the breakdown for Conservative and Leave supporters, they’re almost synonymous. In both cases, four per cent say Brexit’s gone “very well”, with “fairly well” scoring 29 per cent among Conservatives and 27 per cent among Leavers generally.

Adding both figures together, only about a third of both Conservative and Leave supporters reckon Brexit is going “well” (in the population overall the score is a dismal 16 per cent).

But you won’t hear any of that mentioned during the Conservative Party leadership fight.

It’s probably going to take a General Election to shake the Conservatives out of their extremism. The sooner the better.