Tory MP calls government 'a s***show' and admits he wouldn't vote Conservative

Former army officer Johnny Mercer says Tory party run by 'technocrats and managers'

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Friday 19 October 2018 11:38 BST
Tory MP Johnny Mercer calls government 'a shitshow' and admits he wouldn't vote Conservative

A Tory MP has labelled the government “a s***show” and said he would not vote Conservative.

Johnny Mercer, a former army officer, claimed his party was being run by “technocrats and managers” and labelled Theresa May’s Brexit plan a sign of a “classic professional politician”.

He vowed to launch a “serious s***-fight” to stop the UK heading “towards the edge of the cliff”.

The Plymouth Moor View MP launched the astonishing attack on his own party as he voiced concerns that it no longer shared his values.

He told The House magazine: “The party will never really change until you have somebody who is leading the party who has won a seat and knows what it’s like to go out every weekend and advocate for what you just voted for that week.

“We’ve lost this ability to fight, to scrap for what we believe in. Until we get that art back – ultimately our core business as politicians is winning elections. That is our basic core business.

“We’ve lost focus on that for some very good, very capable but ultimately technocrats and managers. That’s not what Britain’s about.”

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Mr Mercer, who served in Afghanistan before becoming an MP, lambasted the current government, continuing: “It’s very difficult because in my DNA I’m inherently a team player.

“But when you go home from here on a Thursday and go for a run across Dartmoor or whatever, and you’re stripped to your core being, I mean, yeah, you realise it’s a s***show.”

He said the Tories were “in a position now where people are beginning to ridicule us” because for most people “the country’s not been a particularly great place”.

The Conservatives won’t be forgiven “for a generation” if they allow Jeremy Corbyn into office, he added.

The MP, who sits on the Commons defence committee, said there was no chance he would have stood for election “if the situation was like it is now”.

And in a shock admission, he said that, were he not an MP, he would not vote for the Conservatives.

Asked how the Johnny Mercer who left the military in 2012 would vote now, he said: “I wouldn’t go and vote.

“Just being honest, I wouldn’t vote. Of course I wouldn’t, no.”

He added: “There’s no doubt about it that my set of values and ethos, I was comfortable that it was aligned with the Conservative Party. I’m not as comfortable that that’s the case any more.”

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The scathing attack comes amid deepening Tory divisions over Ms May’s Brexit strategy.

Mr Mercer, who backed Remain, went on to criticise the Chequers plan.

He said: “If you look at Chequers, for example, that is your classic professional politician’s answer because it’s right down the middle. It doesn’t make anybody happy. It’s the ultimate in not making a decision.

“And I’m afraid, people who pay our wages and vote for us expect us to make decisions and get on with government, not be fixated on us retaining our position.”

It is not the first time Mr Mercer has criticised his own party.

Last year, he claimed the party “still seems punch-drunk” and was “in danger of losing credibility”.

He told The House that it was his ambition to be defence secretary and have a decade “to rip apart that department, make it work”.

Vowing to fight for the type of country he wants to see, he said: “Going forward, at the end of the day, above everything about being an MP, above being Johnny Mercer, any of this stuff, a Conservative or whatever, I’m a patriot.

“I’m not going to sit at the back of the bus and watch it head towards the edge of the cliff. I’m not going to let us go down without a serious s***-fight.”

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