The Conservative Party is on “death row” unless is fundamentally changes, including changing its name, a Tory MP sacked by Theresa May in her reshuffle has warned.
Robert Halfon, who lost his job as skills minister yesterday, said the prime minister’s general election manifesto “frightened people”.
“I genuinely believe we face potential calamity as a party because people do not understand our values, they see us just in terms of austerity,” he told BBC Newsnight.
The Harlow MP made the intervention as Conservatives conduct a post-mortem on its disastrous general election campaign which saw it lose its majority.
Halfon said the Conservative Party should rebrand itself as the “Workers Party” and change its symbol from a tree to a ladder to appeal to ideals of “aspiration and opportunity”.
He added: “When the Labour Party knock on the door, everybody knows they are there for the underdog, their message is very clear, ours is not.”
Writing in The Sun, Halfon added: “The Conservative Party is on death row. Unless we reform our values, our membership offering and our party infrastructure, we face defeat at the next election – and potentially years of opposition.
“If we don’t change it wouldn’t matter if we had Alexander the Great or the Archangel Gabriel as leader. We face the wilderness.”
Talks between the Tories and Democratic Unionist Party aimed at shoring up May’s position in Parliament were continuing on Wednesday.
The prime minister needs the votes of the 10 DUP MPs to prop up her minority administration as she hopes to steer government business - including crucial measures on Brexit - through the Commons.