The new Tory chairman botches the job on his very first day

Support us and go ad-free

Brandon Lewis was made Conservative Party Chairman hastily and messily during Theresa May’s botched reshuffle. And on his very first day, it’s clear why others declined the poisoned chalice.

A government in a mess

Lewis began his role with an introductory interview on BBC Radio 4‘s Today programme. But two simple questions left Lewis floundering and gifted the press with juicy quotes to attack his party and government.

Asked if his party was in a mess, Lewis was only able to reply: “not quite”. This is unlikely to restore confidence in the May government.

Worse, Lewis was unable to give a figure for the current membership of his own party. All parties submit this data as part of their annual accounts, except the Conservatives. This means we know that, as of June 2017, the Labour Party had 552,000 members. And as of August 2017, the SNP had 118,000.

But the Conservative Party hasn’t published its membership figures since 2013, when they stood at 149,800.

But things look to be worse than even these figures suggest. Influential conservative website Conservative Home wrote in September 2017 that Conservative membership was down to 100,000. And newer reports predict this figure is nearer 70,000. Conservative Home diagnosed the root causes as a) an exodus of pro-Remain conservatives, and b) the influx of pro-Brexit members failed to renew their membership. During this time, no efforts were made to create a central list of party members, tempt back former members, or retain those who were wavering. Lewis accidentally validated this argument by confirming to the Today programme that no central list of party members exists.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

And finally, when asked to explain how Conservative education secretary Justine Greening (arguably the least-worst candidate) quit, Lewis failed to answer.

A very bad day

Brandon Lewis went into this interview with three aims. To establish his own credibility, to restore some credibility to his party, and to restore some credibility to the government. He failed in all three and instead confirmed two embarrassing realities. First, his government is in a mess. Second, his party is in a mess. In fairness to the incoming Tory chairman, it would be hard to suggest otherwise. Not just for the last six months, but the last seven and a half years.

Get Involved!

– Read more from The Canary on the reshuffle.

Featured image via Twitter

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed