Theresa May’s decision to relentlessly attack Jeremy Corbyn with accusations he supported the IRA did not work as an election tactic as young people had no memory of the conflict, Nicky Morgan has said.
In an interview with HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast, the former Tory education secretary warned the Conservative Party made a mistake in thinking to win the youth vote it just needed to be “doing more on social media”.
“What young people really respond to are politicians who are clear about their values, about why they want to do things, about being honest about choices that are before them,” Morgan said.
“We kind of assumed that by talking about the IRA that everyone would know what that was about. Well, if you are under the age of 40, you haven’t lived through that period when the IRA were active.”
Morgan added: “We’ve got to go back to first principles and explain these things to really engage people in debate, in the battle of ideas. I think the are really up for that battle and the Conservative Party has left that place vacant.”
Labour’s unexpectedly good performance at the general election has in part been put down to a surge in turnout among the young.
Last weekend Corbyn took to the stage at Glastonbury and was greeted with chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”.
Asked if a Tory leader would ever appear at the festival to appeal to younger voters, Morgan said: “I hope so. I hope they are on stage there as much as they are on stage at the Saga conference.”
During the election campaign, Corbyn denied Tory accusations about his links to the IRA. “I didn’t support the IRA. I don’t support the IRA,” he told the BBC.