A Conservative (Tory) MP retiring from the House of Commons after almost 20 years says the party has lost its way and behaved in “vile” manner during the Wuhan virus pandemic.
Sir Charles Walker, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broxbourne since 2005, is one of a number of Tories who have announced they will not be standing in the next general election, which will take place no later than January 2025, as the party stares down the barrel of a projected massacre under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Speaking to The Telegraph, which is close to the Conservative Party, Sir Charles said of his increasingly embattled party: “We did lose our way. We put party politics above the interests of the country.”
The MP said that, for him personally, the harsh lockdown regime imposed on the British public by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson — hitherto considered a libertarian figure — had been a particularly low moment.
“I feel very angry about that and that’s why it’s time to leave. Telling children that if they went out and saw their granny they’d kill her was a vicious and vile thing to do,” he said, adding: “We need to understand what we did, to make sure we never do it again.”
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Sir Charles said he thought it would take Prime Minister Sunak — whose leadership mandate is highly dubious, given he did not lead the Conservatives into a general election and was not only not elected party leader by party members but explicitly rejected by them for the post in 2022, like his de facto number two Jeremy Hunt before him — a “long time to undo the damage.”
“He can do that, he has the capacity to do that,” Sir Charles added dubiously. “But the country may just decide that it is time for change.”
The latest polling indicates they will indeed do so in devasting fashion, with the Conservatives, despite winning their biggest parliamentary majority since the 1980s as recently as December 2019, facing a historic defeat in the next election, sinking to third place behind the left-separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) and losing the seats held by Prime Minister Sunak, predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, and over a dozen Cabinet ministers.
“If there’s been no movement in opinion polls at all by late this year, early next year, if we’re still running as far as behind, I think there’s a really strong case to bring Boris [Johnson] back [as leader],” lamented one MP in comments to The Telegraph.
The next general election can be held no later than January 2025.
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