THE Conservative Party under Rishi Sunak is losing the red wall and failing to resonate with the general public, former MEP and current Chairman of the Freedom Association, David Campbell Bannerman has told VoteWatch – warning that a Labour government could be on the horizon.
His comments follow a disappointing set of local election results in which the Conservative Party lost over 1,000 council seats.
Campbell Bannerman is a well-respected former Tory MEP and also a former Deputy Leader of UKIP, who now serves as the Chairman of pressure group ‘The Freedom Association’.
Asked whether the local election results were an indication of how people might vote in the next General Election, Campbell Bannerman said: “It shows a direction which I’m afraid is quite hostile to the Conservatives. And there’s a direct transfer – Conservative votes going down, Labour and Lib Dem votes going up. And in some areas of the southeast, particularly, Lib Dems have scored highly at our expense.
“And of course, the red wall, which Boris brought over to us, is being lost,” he continued. “And the UKIP vote, like in Stoke – the Brexit vote you might call it – has gone back to Labour”.
“A gentleman on a street in Norwich said to me, ‘I voted for you last time in 2019 with Boris, I’m not going to do it again, I’m going back to my roots, back to Labour’.
“I don’t believe Labour, I don’t trust them on Brexit, but they played it quite cleverly, so that’s all going on. But I think it’s a lack of direction – there’s a feeling of what the Conservatives actually believe in and want.”
Asked if he believes that Brexit has been betrayed by the current government, Campbell Bannerman said: “The right Tories are trying to deliver on Brexit, but look at Dominic Raab – he was trying to deliver on Brexit, the Bill of Rights etc, but they got rid of him. They couldn’t get him democratically, so they bring him down through absurd bullying claims.
“Suella Braverman, another Brexiteer – now they’re after after. It’s one after the other. There are only about eight brexiteers left in Sunak’s cabinet.
“And then we have to ask the question – is Sunak really even a brexiteer himself? He only went to one dinner for VoteLeave during the referendum. I made some inquiries and he spoke to farmers in his own constituency, but he was hardly on the red bus or campaigning vigorously for Brexit.
“I don’t think that this government is actually showing that it is a true Brexit government. They only get rid of 80% of EU rules and laws then that’s a complete betrayal. After self-government, which is the main benefit of Brexit, the second main benefit is an economic one of deregulation, of getting rid of these absurd EU laws which I as an MEP couldn’t stop because we were always being outnumbered and undermined. And if they just go along with it simply because of the House of Lords being very remain-leaning, that’s just surrender.”
Speaking fondly of former PM Boris Johnson, Campbell Banner referred to him as a ‘remarkable individual’ and suggested he return to save the party and country.
“Boris is a remarkable individual, and you can just see when you look at how he interacts with people around the world and home, he’s got amazing qualities which we dearly need. Whereas, I’m afraid, Rishi Sunak – robotic John Major the second – just repeats five priorities, which are not bad priorities in many ways, but they aren’t actually resonating with the public, and we’re not actually delivering them. It’s a very bad situation, but I think Boris could come back and try and rescue us.
“There is some time between now and the election. Boris rescued us from the disaster of Theresa May in 2019 and then won a stunning election in December of the same year – and he could do it again, in my view.
“I’m afraid we will get a Labour government if we stick with the current management in the Conservative Party and an uninspiring Prime Minister and a fairly deaf chancellor who doesn’t even understand that taxes shouldn’t be going up. I can’t quite understand that – how can they not understand that taxes shouldn’t be going up? Hunt is Chancellor, and the other chancellor, the ex-chancellor, is now Prime Minister. Can they not get together and stop increasing taxes and reverse this ridiculous corporation-like attitude so our economy can get going again?
“Liz Truss had a good point about economic growth,” he added. “I mean, it’s right on the edge of a recession after two very good years. That needs sorting. If we don’t get Boris back and new policies with a dynamic team around them, which is all very feasible, then we are just preparing to leave office and for lots of P45s for MPs who will get a terrible shock.”