The Conservative Party needs a new direction and a fresh start which will deliver Brexit

The Conservative Party needs a new direction and a fresh start which will deliver Brexit

We knew the European election results would be bad for the Conservative Party, but they are far worse than even the greatest pessimist could have predicted.

They are a stark warning to the Conservative Party to change – and change fast.

The results reflect the loss of public confidence and the collective failure of the Government and Parliament to get Britain out of the EU as promised. This has created a crisis of trust in our democracy and in our political institutions. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, on the doorstep people are fed up with the games that have been played out in Westminster. They want to see the type of unequivocal leadership, which keeps its promises and will take advantage of the opportunities that Brexit brings.

These European elections should never have happened, but the Conservative Party wrongly campaigned in favour of the Government’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement and that position was roundly defeated.

The Withdrawal Agreement marked the surrender and capitulation of our country. Far from taking back control, the Withdrawal Agreement did not deliver the outcome of the EU referendum and went against the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto and promises made to the country. The public knew this.

Last week’s exercise in democracy has shown again that millions of people care deeply about our country leaving the EU and their collective anger and frustration with the Government and Parliament for failing to deliver Brexit is clear.

The Conservative Party has needlessly antagonised the electorate and if we are not careful it will take years to repair this reputational damage. We now must devote all our efforts now to putting that right.

The Conservative Party needs a new direction and a fresh start which will deliver Brexit. We must rebuild and reconnect with our voters and members.

And we must start with a new negotiating mandate straight away. Building upon the preparation already made for leaving the EU, WTO terms puts the UK in the possible position to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement, negotiating as a ‘third country’. Parliament has also enacted the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 which means we are legally ready to leave. And all the ministers who have been the ‘no-deal’ minister say the UK and the EU are both prepared. We must now maximise our leverage between now and 31st October with the EU, as well as making it clear we will continue to offer friendship and trade with our EU allies, and security through cooperation and through NATO.

These elections pose great questions for the electoral future and viability of both Labour and Conservative parties. All MPs need to register and understand the concern of the British public and consider the consequences for their own future. Traditional parties do not have a divine right to exist. This election is not a protest vote, but the anguished cry of a completely exasperated British public. Those who write this election off will do so at their peril.

This election is a sea change. Its shockwaves demonstrate dissatisfaction with the refusal of the establishment to deliver Brexit. There is a strong desire from the British people for a better future for our country and a need for leaders who truly believe in Britain.

By bringing forward a new generation of political leaders the Conservative Party can restore democratic accountability and trust in politics, by getting on with Brexit and delivering the economic and political freedoms the British people sought to regain with the vote to Leave.

New leadership must respect the fact that the people of this country voted to take back control of our laws and decided that Britain should be a self-governing country. That means articulating a post-Brexit vision that sets our economy and country on the right track. We should not fear being free from the EU and instead embrace new freedoms to exercise greater fiscal flexibility and regulatory reform to transform our country into a dynamic engine of prosperity, job creation and growth while generating the wealth to provide high quality public services.

Brexit should act as a catalyst for a new era of prosperity for an outward-looking UK, ambitious to remove barriers to trade, enterprise and economic growth. As the fifth largest economy in the world and a history of success from the ambition and entrepreneurial skills of our people we can prosper as a free and independent country. The people recognise this and it is about time our political leaders did too.