Tories must be inclusive to win power, says Maude

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Indy Politics

Francis Maude yesterday renewed his appeal to the Conservative right that the party needed to be more inclusive if it wanted to win the election.

Francis Maude yesterday renewed his appeal to the Conservative right that the party needed to be more inclusive if it wanted to win the election.

Mr Maude, shadow Foreign Secretary, said that Margaret Thatcher won such widespread support in the 1980s because the party represented all sectors of society, including ethnic minorities and homosexuals.

Mr Maude and Michael Portillo, shadow Chancellor, resigned from the Thatcherite No Turning Back group in protest at leaks from a private meeting. They lost confidence in the group after a report last weekend suggested Mr Portillo had been barracked at a private dinner because of his stance of "inclusiveness".

Tory MPs were said to have attacked Mr Portillo for his perceived failure to project the Tories as the party of low taxation instead.

An ally of Mr Maude, who was a No Turning Back founder, denied there was now an ideological split on the Tory right, insisting both shadow ministers were in the mainstream of the party. "There are some people ... who seem to think we succeeded in the 1980s by being unpleasant, sectional and rejecting people. This is absolute rubbish."

Mr Maude, in a speech to his local party, raised a similar theme, saying the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher "decided Britain's council estates should never again be seen as no-go areas." He added: "We knew great numbers of trade unionists, despite their traditional Labour allegiance, could be persuaded to support us.

"They did. We knew then that we could not be a national party of government if there were large sections of the public who felt that we simply did not represent them.

"The same is true today. We have to be true to that same equality of esteem, that same respect for people as people, whatever their origins, whichever side of the tracks they were born, whatever their colour or sexual orientation. If you're British, hardworking and law-abiding, we're on your side. You won't respect us if we don't respect you. And it is doubly important today."

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