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Sunak Failing to Unite His Deeply Divided Party, Warns Tory MP

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Beset by scandals, infighting, and a lack of vision, the Conservative party under Rishi Sunak looks ill-prepared to contest the next general election. Recent local election defeats point to a disillusioned electorate abandoning the floundering Tories. 

Sunak’s ham-fisted attempts to shift the focus onto extremism have backfired. With the economy faltering, the NHS in crisis, and immigration concerns unaddressed, the PM is falling woefully short on key pledges. His party is bitterly divided, and hemorrhaging MPs.

 The Tories seem directionless and devoid of purpose as they rush from crisis to crisis. Unless Sunak can swiftly unite his party and reconnect with voters’ daily struggles, his time in Number 10 may soon be up. The Conservatives face an electoral mountain they look incapable of climbing

Sunak has tried to get on the front foot by announcing a crackdown on extremism. In a speech outside Number 10, he claimed democracy was under threat from far-right and Islamist extremists. He called for national unity to defeat these “poisonous ideologies.” However, critics accused Sunak of desperation tactics to distract from the government’s woeful record. There is little evidence of a surge in extremism. And Sunak’s own party has faced accusations of whipping up division with inflammatory rhetoric on migrants and Brexit.

The Tories’ standing has not been helped by a series of election defeats. In the Rochdale by-election last month,which was a landslide win for George Galloway who is the candidate for the Workers party. Also,  there are signs the Tories are in no shape to fight an election anytime soon. Minister Greg Hands while speaking to Times Radio on Tuesday morning admitted the party is not “ready” for a snap election in May to coincide with local elections.. Not only is the Conservative party unprepared for a snap general election, but their prospects in upcoming local elections also appear dim.

Minister Greg Hands  said: “There’s two polls that matter. There’s the one on the 2 May, particularly here in London to get rid of Mayor Sadiq Khan, and then there’s the poll that…”

The Times Radio host interjected, saying: “Your candidate Susan Hall is 25 percent behind Sadiq Khan. To argue that the Tories are going to win the mayoralship in London is a laughable prospect”.

Hands responded: “No, I disagree with that. I think what you’ll find is that Sadiq Khan is an extremely unpopular politician”.

He added: “You’ll have to see what happens on the second of May. But what I’m saying is that does open up the possibility of a Conservative win in the London mayoralty, and that would build us up quite nicely for the general election later this year, particularly in London”.

However, despite Hands’ optimism, the Conservatives’ chosen candidate for London mayor faces an uphill battle, as evidenced by recent polls.

The Conservative’s London mayoral candidate, Susan Hall, is trailing badly in polls against incumbent Labour mayor Sadiq Khan. Hall has been criticized for expressing extreme right-wing views in the past. Her selection points to a concerning ideological shift in the party.

Many Tory MPs expressed fear that the Tories are lurching to the right on issues like migration and trans rights to shore up their core vote. And how this risks alienating moderate supporters. Former minister Paul Scully warned that there are simply not enough voters on the hard right for this to be an election-winning strategy. 

He told Sky News: “If you just have an ideological shove to the right, … then just mathematically you can’t win an election. “There’s not enough people in that corner to actually win an election. The core vote will die off or move away anyway.”

The Tories claim their loss of support is due to the party shifting further right, alienating moderate voters, as former minister Paul Scully suggested. However, this is a disingenuous argument. In reality, the Tories have embraced too many left-wing policies lately, driving away core right-wing supporters like myself to Reform UK. 

The Conservatives are trying to hoodwink voters by falsely attributing their declining popularity to becoming more right-wing. But this is reverse psychology, knowing the real reason supporters are defecting is because the Tories have lost their ideological compass and abandoned right-wing principles. Their rhetorical pivot rightwards is a deception, given recent leftist policies. The Conservatives are losing backing because they no longer represent the true right, not because they have become more right-wing. 

Not only are the Conservatives being dishonest about the reasons for their declining support, but their troubles are also evidenced by the growing number of Tory MPs announcing plans to stand down.

  The loss of experience and authority from big beasts like Scully points to a demoralized, directionless party. Scully was scathing about the Conservatives’ “lack of focus” in his resignation statement. He also took aim at the decision to pick Hall as the mayoral candidate over him. Scully believes the party is ignoring Londoners’ interests and disrespecting the capital.

The former minister for London is the seventh Tory MP representing a London constituency to reveal they will not contest the next election. This suggests a party in crisis in the city they need to win to form a government. These crushing defeats and ill-chosen strategies point to voters’ disillusionment with the government amid the cost-of-living crisis.

There is confusion over when exactly the next general election will be held. Under the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022, the latest possible date is January 2025. However, most expect Sunak to call an election this autumn. The prime minister himself has hinted as much. While the exact timing of the next election remains uncertain, what is clear is that Rishi Sunak has so far struggled to deliver on the key pledges he made upon becoming Prime Minister.

When Rishi Sunak first entered 10 Downing Street, he outlined five key pledges to the British people. These included restoring economic stability, uniting his party, reducing immigration, easing pressures on the NHS, and getting a grip on inflation. However, a year into his premiership, Sunak has already failed to make progress on most of these commitments.

On the economy, Sunak’s much-vaunted experience with the nation’s finances has yet to translate into concrete results. Growth remains stagnant, the cost-of-living crisis rages on, and the UK is forecast to enter recession this year. Sunak’s Autumn Statement did little to reassure people or businesses about Britain’s economic future. He has failed to achieve anything except reducing inflation, for which the Bank of England arguably deserves much of the credit.

Far from uniting the Conservative Party, internal divisions are as toxic as ever. Sunak faces constant sniping from Boris Johnson loyalists and threats from his right flank. Infighting has paralyzed policymaking and damaged the government’s image. The Conservatives appear no closer to harmony under Sunak’s leadership.

Immigration continues to climb under Sunak, with 2022 seeing record numbers of migrant crossings in small boats. His heavily criticized scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is stuck in legal limbo. Sunak’s pledge to stop the boats already looks fanciful.

On the NHS, patients face ever-longer waits for ambulances and treatment. Sunak has missed targets on reducing waiting times, with some now at their highest levels ever. Doctors’ strikes have further highlighted the pressures on the health service, which Sunak has failed to alleviate.

In most areas, Sunak has been unable to back up his bold words with real action. As Prime Minister, he has quickly squandered the political capital he enjoyed after replacing the chaotic Liz Truss. Sunak now looks like just another failing Conservative leader, incapable of getting to grips with the issues facing modern Britain.

The Tories have a mountain to climb to get back into electoral contention this year. Blundering from crisis to crisis, they look devoid of direction or purpose.There must be a candidate with enough experience that can deal with multiple variables such as the economy, immigration, and healthcare. Also, someone who can deal with party politics and unite it. Without swift action to win back trust and switch focus to kitchen table issues, voters will deal the Conservatives a crushing blow when they finally go to the polls.

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