Battleground Yorkshire: The three things that give Tories hope of a fightback

“As things stand, I've got a mountain to climb,” says Sir Philip Davies, who, with a majority of just over 6,000 votes, looks unlikely to survive a 20-point national lead for Labour in the polls.

“You don't need to be John Curtis to work that out to be perfectly honest.

“If you look at the opinion polls, if they're right, if they proved with the actual results on election night, then obviously, I haven't got a hope in hell of winning.

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“But I have to hope that things are going to change between now and then.”

Shipley MP Philip Davies.Shipley MP Philip Davies.
Shipley MP Philip Davies.

Sir Philip says that he has four main points that give him hope that things will change between now and polling day.

“The first is that I think that Rishi Sunak is doing a great job as prime minister and he's doing all the right things,” he says, adding that priorities around migration, and ending the “fanaticism” on net zero, and tackling crime are the correct priorities to be looking at.

“He's doing all the things that I think will actually help us politically, it's going to take a while for people to see that those things are making a difference,” he says.

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“The second thing that gives me hope is that actually, whereas clearly, lots of voters are less than impressed with us at the moment for a whole range of reasons, they're not particularly impressed with Labour either, and they're certainly not particularly impressed with Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, either.

“A typical conversation I will have on the doorstep, is with somebody who voted Conservative in 2019, would go along the lines of: “I really can't vote conservative, it's just been, it's just been a shambles for too long.”

“They particularly refer to things like the Liz Truss era, that's the thing that really upsets people more than anything else. And then before I can say anything at all, in the next breath, they say: “I know it'll be worse one or the other lot.””

Finally, he says, Labour’s own campaigning gives him hope that there is space for a Tory fightback.

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“Keir Starmer is hoping to win the election by saying nothing and doing nothing and hoping that nobody notices.

“To a large extent, he's been quite successful because all the focus has been on us because some of our colleagues have been pretty self-indulgent.

“Keir Starmer has managed to get through the last two years sort of without anybody noticing him, and that will almost certainly change in a general election campaign. If he then heads into the election looking like the next prime minister, there's going to be much more focus on what is it you're going to do? How are you going to solve these problems? And he won't be able to get away with just saying nothing.

"Those three things give me hope that we can actually make a material difference to where the opinion polls are at the moment.”

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