Conservatives risk being seen as party of ‘nostalgia, hard Brexit and lazy privilege’, warned Theresa May’s policy chief

'We need to move fast to show that the Conservative party has learnt the lessons of the last election and is serious about intellectual, organisational and cultural renewal,' said the Tory MP George Freeman

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 17 November 2017 10:32
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George Freeman wrote to the Prime Minister with his concerns in September
George Freeman wrote to the Prime Minister with his concerns in September

The Conservative party risks being seen as the party of “nostalgia, hard Brexit, austerity and lazy privilege”, Theresa May’s policy chief warned earlier this year.

George Freeman, a Tory MP and chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum, made the claim in a letter to the Prime Minister, adding that “reform and renewal” of the party was “urgent” in the aftermath of the inconclusive general election result.

It comes after Mr Freeman warned earlier this week that the Brexit process could create an impoverished country, like an “old people’s home that couldn’t pay for itself”, adding: “That I see as a very real prospect and it chills me to the bone.”

In a letter to the Prime Minister, sent in September and published in the House magazine, Mr Freeman said: “We are now in a new battle of ideas which is reshaping 21st century policies.

“We need to move fast to show that the Conservative party has learnt the lessons of the last election and is serious about intellectual, organisational and cultural renewal.

“If we allow ourselves to be defined as narrow party of nostalgia, hard Brexit, public sector austerity and lazy privilege we risk alienating ourselves from an entire new generation of voters.

His comments emerge as Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, prepares to unveil his Autumn Budget next week with demands from his Cabinet colleagues to ease austerity and officially end the public sector pay cap.

Mr Freeman, who was also responsible for overseeing the “Tory Glastonbury”, has previously said the economic chasm between generations was the “biggest domestic policy issue” that the country faces.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference earlier this year Mr Freeman added: “We shouldn’t be surprise the young are starting to ask: why should I support capitalism if I have absolutely no chance of earning any capital?

“So we’re not just fighting for Conservatism, we are actually genuinely fighting for capitalism.

“They’re not wrong, they’re not mad. They’re experiencing the market of today and it is not working for them and we need to solve that pretty fast.”

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