That Tory memo calling for “Conservative Corbyn” Johnson to go

Over the weekend, a memo circulated among Tory backbenchers setting out the case for Boris Johnson to go. It is striking how scared the Conservatives have become of the Lib Dems, with the memo writers predicting that we could take seats with Conservative majorities of up to 20,000 in the Blue Wall.

The memo writers also suggest that if Johnson survives by a slim majority, he will call an early general election to restore his personal mandate.

We should make the Conservatives paranoia a reality by ensuring we win in Tiverton and Honiton. Please help this weekend if you can. We must ensure that Richard Foord is elected on 25 June and drive home the message that the Tories are not fit to govern. There are both volunteer activities in the constituency and regular Maraphone sessions.

The full Tory memo is below.

PARTY LEADERSHIP

Boris Johnson is no longer an electoral asset and, if left in post, will lead the party to a substantial defeat in 2024. He will lose Red Wall seats (with majorities under 10,000) to Labour and Blue Wall seats (majorities up to 20,000) to the Liberal Democrats. At least 160 MPs are at risk (all majorities under 10k, and LD facing majorities under 20k). Furthermore, tactical voting, so devastating in 1997, is returning and could tum a defeat into a landslide.

Partygate, and the Prime Minister’s denials of it in the House of Commons, represent a major breach of trust with the British population, including 2019 Conservatives, many of whom have abandoned the party already. Boris Johnson cannot win their trust back, and they will discount anything a Government led by him promises.

Partygate is not going away. Allegations of a birthday party — hitherto investigated — in the flat on June 19, 2020 have not been denied by Downing Street. And the “Abba party” of November 13, 2020 was not fully investigated by Sue Gray. Privileges Committee will want to examine both events, and may demand that Boris Johnson, Carrie Johnson, Sue Gray and No 10 staff give evidence to them.

The entire purpose of the Government now appears to be the sustenance of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. MPs are having to defend the indefensible, not for the sake of the party, but for one man. He is the only Minister given negative ratings by activists in the [Conservative Home] ratings, meaning he is dragging everyone else down.

Electoral Considerations

Our last lead in the polls was on 6th December, a week after the initial Partygate stories broke. We are now an average of 8% down. We won the last election by 11.8% (GB) so this represents a 10% swing against us.

27% of current Conservative voters think the PM should resign, indicating there is potential for a further fall in our polling position, 51% of current Conservative voters think the PM knowingly lied about breaking lockdown rules.

The booing of Boris Johnson at the Jubilee Thanksgiving service tells us nothing that data does not. There is no social group that trusts him, with even 55% of current Conservatives calling him untrustworthy, against only 25% saying he is trustworthy.

The damage done to trust in Boris Johnson is such that popular policies are falling flat with the public (e.g. cost-of-living measures). A pollster has dubbed him the “Conservative Corbyn” because of this.

The recent YouGov MRP poll (link) showed us losing 85 of 88 Labour-facing seats at the next election. Bookmakers expect us to lose the Red Wall seat of Wakefield (maj 3,358) comfortably.

Facing the Lib Dems, we have already lost Chesham & Amersham (maj 16.223) on a 25.2% swing and North Shropshire (maj 22,949) on a 34.2% swing. North Shropshire was the seventh-worst by-election swing since the war — only Christchurch was bigger in the 1992-97 Parliament. Bookmakers also expect Tiverton & Honiton (maj 24,239) to follow.

This situation is not comparable to the “mid-term blues” in the 2010-15 Parliament. There are very few votes on our right to squeeze (unlike e.g. 2013. where UKIP polled into the 20s at times). The polls in 2010-15 were also shown to be wrong following an inquiry after the 2015 election.

Risk of an early General Election

Should Boris Johnson win a vote of no confidence, but only narrowly, his authority within the Commons and the Parliamentary Party would be destroyed. Most Prime Ministers would resign; however it has been suggested that he would consider calling an early General Election (despite the obvious electoral risk) as the only way to restore his personal mandate. This would put MPs in marginal seats at risk.

Privileges Committee

The Partygate story will continue to be played out over the summer. with reports suggesting the Privileges Committee may not report until October overshadowing our conference and ensuring Ministers and MPs continue to face questions on this subject for months. The four Conservative MPs on the Committee — and the integrity of all of them is beyond question — have been placed in a very difficult position.

The only way to end this misery, earn a hearing from the British public. and restore Conservative fortunes to a point where we can win the next General Election, is to remove Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

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