Sir Edward blasts failed Tory “leadership” for UKIP success

Edward Leigh EMN-141010-122653001
Edward Leigh EMN-141010-122653001

Market Rasen’s MP, Sir Edward Leigh, has attacked his party’s ‘leadership’ on the ConservativeHome website saying David Cameron’s ‘modernisation’ project “created UKIP.”

Following the election of Britain’s first UKIP MP in the Clacton by-election, and Nigel Farage’s party running Labour a close second in Heywood & Middleton, Manchester, the veteran MP has made a similar attack to one he made on the website when UKIP topped the nationwide poll in the elections for the European Parliament in June.

“The people of Clacton have sent a warning shot across the bow of the Conservative Party, and party leaders would be foolish not to take this threat seriously. Of course many voters who turn to UKIP will return, but enough could stay to permanently threaten Conservative electoral prospects: we must get them back. Because UKIP was created by the failures of our leadership, they are the only ones whose actions can get our people back in the fold,” he said.

“A whole host of errors conceived or approved of by Tory bigwigs has fostered the steady loss of votes to the Faragists: the deliberate policy of triangulation, the coalition with the Liberals, increased taxes on the middle classes, cuts to the armed forces, failed and wasteful green policies, failing to deliver the promised referendum on Lisbon, the massive increase in international aid spending, and controversial and revolutionary social policies such as same-sex civil marriage. All these actions have been pervaded by a constant tone of attacking the record of the oldest and most successful political party in the world as “the nasty party”.”

Sir Edward contrasts how Labour PM Tony Blair took great care not to infuriate his supporters, while David Cameron has marginalised right-wingers, creating a less diverse front-bench of Ministers, one more out of touch with voters.

“Conservatism of the traditional, pragmatic kind works. A focus on the economic betterment of all Britons would create prosperity for all and electoral success. But we know that a vote for UKIP is a vote to put Ed Miliband in Number 10, which is why the Clacton result is so threatening. It’s all rather sad because we’ve made so much progress on the economy, and that’s what matters,” he said.

The MP called for tax cuts, but said abandonning previous pledges over Inheritence Tax had damaged the party’s credibility. He repeated his call to end the coalition.

“Does anyone who listens to Nick Clegg think the Coalition has any more life in it? For both our sakes, in order to reconnect with our supporters, we need to break up the Coalition. It would send another signal to our former voters that we mean it on protecting the armed forces, promoting marriage, and tackling waste in our country’s massive social and health bureaucracy: a big ask,” he concluded.

“Every Conservative MP is desperate to stop Miliband getting into Number 10 – to once again open the immigration taps and lose control of the deficit. Let’s convince our people that voting Tory will give them a real Conservative government that intends to get down to business. Above all, let’s not insult the heartfelt Conservatives who were trying to give us a lesson in Clacton. Let’s convince them that the lesson is learned.”