The annual Conservative Party Conference began on 1 October in Manchester, and delegates are not happy. Following months of internal party chaos, the website Conservative Home chaired an opening day meeting which had the air of a “post mortem”, according to the BBC. In attendance were some big names, such as former party chairman Sir Eric Pickles and former health minister Edwina Currie. Yet the verdict on their own party’s direction was damning.
‘Armageddon’ for the Tories
John Strafford, chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, set the tone. He described the state of his party as “an utter, total disgrace”. Even further than that, he reportedly predicted that it faced ‘Armageddon’ as its support dwindles. “Eventually there will be no members left,” he added.
Pickles, meanwhile, spoke of the Conservatives’ “campaigning deficiency” and said they were in “such a mess”. Former Cambridge City Councillor Chris Howell then demonstrated some serious inner conflict by asking:
Why would anybody, let alone a normal person, want to become a member of the Conservative Party?
The mood of impending doom was so persistent that Edwina Currie, formerly a key member of the Margaret Thatcher and John Major administrations, didn’t mince her words. She remarked upon the “blithering idiots” in party headquarters and said she was “losing the will to live”.
Falling apart at the seams
This opening day horror show will not ease the burden on hapless Prime Minister Theresa May. She has recently faced repeated attempts from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to undermine her, open warfare between cabinet members over Brexit, and the apparent loss of former allies in the media. She has also endured a torrid period in the public eye herself, and performed desperately badly while under pressure from the BBC‘s Andrew Marr on 1 October. As a result, several key ministers have refused to back her continued premiership when asked publicly to do so.
With a lame duck leader, and a cabinet fighting “like rats in a sack”, according to Marr, the Conservative Party is disintegrating. And it’s the party’s own members saying that.
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