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Essex Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin writes brutal assessment of a ‘failing’ party in ‘crisis’

PUBLISHED: 11:54 13 July 2017

Bernard Jenkin

Bernard Jenkin

Archant

MP Bernard Jenkin has called the Conservative Party a failing organisation that is in “crisis” following a disastrous general election campaign.

The Harwich and North Essex Tory revealed his brutal assessment of the party in a report to the 1922 committee of backbenchers.

He added that the party needed wide reform if it is to win back voters and stay in power beyond the next general election.

“In a failing organisation, which is beset by an atmosphere of crisis, it can be very difficult to talk truthfully about why things have gone wrong,” the report states.

“People within the organisation can feel very inhibited and fearful, particularly if there is an atmosphere of blame. Anyone who has worked in CCHQ during the past few months will recognise some or all of these characteristics.”

Mr Jenkin goes on to blame an obsession with sound bites, a failure to offer any hope or vision to the country and a manifesto draft with little consultation for the bad performance at the ballot box.

“The outcome of the next general election will depend upon how well the Conservatives run the government over the next few years,” he wrote.

“However, there is also widespread dismay among MPs, candidates, donors, activists, members, supporters and voters about how the Conservative Party conducted the 2017 general election campaign.”

He also called on the party to adopt a new mission statement to address a “bad culture”.

Mr Jenkin told this paper: “This is a frank and very positive report. Learning lessons is about being truthful and being able to hear the truth. There is appetite for this right now.”

Fellow Tory MP Dr Dan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, welcomed the unflinching nature of the report: “This is taking a sensible and business-like approach in response to a major setback. It is the in beginning of identifying and understanding what went wrong including the writing of the manifesto being left to a small group of inexperienced people with no real understanding of the concerns and worries of the British people.

“I hope this starts an open dialogue about how things can be put right for the future.”

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