Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister if Conservatives fail to achieve 'workable Brexit', warns Tory minister

Universities minister Sam Gyimah also calls on his party to ramp up its campaigning on campuses across the country to attract younger voters

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Thursday 08 March 2018 22:04 GMT
Universities and science minister Sam Gyimah
Universities and science minister Sam Gyimah (Lorne Campbell/Guzelian)

A Conservative minister has warned that if his party fails to achieve a “workable Brexit” then Jeremy Corbyn could end up in Downing Street.

Sam Gyimah, the universities and science minister, added that his party had failed to reach out to students, and allowed the Labour leader to become “the only game on campus” at the snap general election in 2017.

Speaking to The House magazine, Mr Gyimah – considered a rising star in the Conservative Party – said: “I guess ultimately we have a workable Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn ends up in Downing Street. And I think that would be a terrible thing for the country.”

Asked whether the election – at which the Conservative majority was wiped out – was a wakeup call for his party, Mr Gyimah added: “Yes, of course. Although, the evidence shows that there wasn’t the youthquake that everyone thought that there would be.

“What it made clear is that here is a group of people that politicians had assumed don’t vote. I remember when I said to one senior politician that we should mobilise and get young to vote, he replied, ‘the young don’t vote. Why go chasing shadows?’

Mr Gyimah called on his party to ramp up campaigns on university and registering supporters to vote. “If we are not doing all of these exercises, then you can’t expect them on polling day to put their cross against a Conservative name”, he added.

He also expressed his desire for ministers to reach a deal on sciences “before everything else”, but added it would be a matter for Theresa May and the European Commission to negotiate.

On immigration after Brexit, he said: “People are also essential to this. For science to work you need collaboration and deep collaboration, and that means we need an immigration regime that enables the brightest and the best to come not just to study here but also work here as scientists.

“The steps that have been taking on EU nationals so far by the Prime Minister provides some reassurance in terms of what regime we would have post-exit and post the implementation period.

“The important thing, certainly from my perspective as universities and science minister, is thinking and looking ahead to what kind of regime and system we have post-Brexit to ensure that these sectors continue to be a success.”

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