Theresa May has been warned that Tory activists in the country are “downtrodden” and need to see “some vision” if they are to be motivated enough to take on Jeremy Corbyn’s Momentum campaigners at the next election.
Tory MP George Freeman, who used to head the party’s policy forum and campaigned for Remain at the referendum, said Brexit should be exploited by the liberal Conservatives to “re-turbo” the One Nation tradition in the party.
“So downtrodden are our Conservative activists up and down the country. They need some hope, they need some vision, they need some thanks, they need some support and they need to believe this movement has more than enough heritage, roots, vision, ambition and energy to take on the other Momentum and leave it for dust,” the former minister said.
Last year, Freeman warned Brexit could turn Britain into an “old people’s home that can’t pay for itself”. He quit as chair of the party’s policy forum in November 2017.
Speaking to members of the One Nation Tory Reform Group [TRG] earlier this week, Freeman, who described himself as an “avowed Cameronite loyalist”, said the quality of the Tory MPs elected since 2010 was was a tribute to the former prime minister’s leadership.
“I am old enough to have seen a burnt out Conservative party in government. That is not what I see at the moment. I see a Conservative Party bursting with ideas, energy with, talent,” he said.
“The biggest tribute to David Cameron’s modernisation, the energy of those who come in in 2010, 2015 and 2017. A total change in the zeitgeist of the Conservative movement in parliament.”
He added: “If Brexit didn’t exist, honestly I think we would be sitting here tonight thinking, if only seven-years in, we could find an event so transformational, so challenging, so change demanding, so reforming, it would create a moment to come together and re-turbo our commitment to One Nation reform.
“Brexit isn’t the distraction. It’s the moment we stop blaming others, took responsibility, and redoubled our commitment to domestic reform. The exhaustion out there, the yearning for change, can be our greatest ally.
“This is the moment we stop blaming others and grip a 21st century NHS, grip proper policy for housing and a proper policy for the environment - as Michael [Gove] has done.”