Toxic Tory thinks Tories are toxic. No, really.

Ben Bradley MP and Conservative Party logo
Fréa Lockley

Ben Bradley, MP and Conservative Party vice-chair, has told the party that to gain voters it needs to shake off “stereotypes and negativity”. But as the Mirror reported, it’s quite ironic that such a controversial MP has advised the Conservatives that they need to shed their “toxic image”.

Voice for the youth?

Bradley made his comments following a YouGov poll that showed a significant lack of support for Conservatives from younger voters. The poll revealed [pdf, p1] that:

  • 44% of voters aged 18-24 would definitely not vote Conservative.
  • 49% of voters aged 25-39 would definitely not vote Conservative.

As reported in the Telegraph [paywall], Bradley, who is also Conservative vice chair for youth, said:

the Conservatives are not out of the game with the under-40s…

It’s clear we need to articulate our values and our commitment in an engaging way, because those people should be voting Conservative.

Bradley’s voting record shows that he voted against scrapping university tuition fees and against restoring Education Maintenance Allowance. He also voted against restoring maintenance grants and nurses’ bursaries. Any young people not thinking of staying in education may find it useful to know that Bradley also voted against ending the public sector pay cap and against increasing the minimum wage.

But “those people” (we assume he means the under-40s) should vote Tory, apparently.

To encourage more Tory voters, Bradley said:

Delivering that change must involve breaking down stereotypes and negativity that sometimes surround our party.

Interesting.

Because Theresa May was under pressure to fire Bradley after it emerged that, in a (now deleted) blog post from 2012, he said the UK was “drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters”. He suggested that people on benefits had too many children, writing:

Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free.

In response to Bradley’s comments, Cat Smith MP – Labour minister for voter engagement and youth affairs – said:

That they come from a man Theresa May chose as a vice-chair of her party speaks volumes. The nasty party is alive and well.

Although Bradley apologised and said he’d “cocked up”, this wasn’t his only public ‘mistake’.

Most recently, Bradley was forced to apologise after falsely tweeting that Jeremy Corbyn had “sold British secrets to communist spies”. In his apology, Bradley said:

I fully accept that my statement was wholly untrue and false. I accept that I caused distress and upset to Jeremy Corbyn by my untrue and false allegations, suggesting he had betrayed his country by collaborating with foreign spies.

And this is the same man who is now suggesting the Tories need to sort out their negative reputation to win support from younger voters. Perhaps he thinks it’s just other Tories who are toxic? You really couldn’t make it up.

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Featured images via Chris McAndrew/Wikimedia and Wikimedia

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