Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party is now on course for a “massive hiding” in next year’s general election, former Conservative Minister and staunch Brexiteer Ann Widdecombe has predicted – adding: “They deserve it.”
Ms Widdecombe, who served in the Government of former PM Sir John Major in the 1990s, and who more recently was a Brexit Party MEP, was responding to the Tories’ double defeat in the Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire by-elections yesterday.
The result has prompted bookmakers to slash the odds of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer being the next occupant of Number 10 – and Ms Widdecombe, the former MP for Maidstone in Kent, did not disagree with their assessment.
Now a member of Reform UK, the Brexit firebrand told Express.co.uk: “I think that they’re going to get a really good hiding at the polls and I think that they deserve
“I think it will have to be Starmer of victory because honestly, there are no Conservatives.
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“So if you ask me if I feel, at all guilty about the fact that we may well end up helping to put Starmer my in my answer is no, because there are no Conservatives.
“We have a pink party and we have a pale pink party.”
She continued: “It wasn’t a good result for the Tories but it was a very good result for Reform UK.
“If you actually look at both seats, we took more votes than was the margin between Conservatives and Labour so that is hugely significant.
“And it means the Conservatives should start to be afraid of us and should start to listen to us about things like lower taxation, and a proper Brexit and the end of woke.
“But I don’t think they will because they’re too arrogant.”
With specific reference to Mr Sunak, she suggested he was veering dangerously close to lame duck territory, explaining: “He’s running out of time to do anything effectively now.
“He’s got one King’s Speech left and that’s it.”
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Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands insisted he believes people are “happy with the job Rishi Sunak is doing as Prime Minister” despite the Tories’ two by-election defeats overnight.
He said “legacy issues” which “predate” Rishi Sunak’s premiership had caused the two by-elections.
Mr Hands told GB News that neither was considering his position as party chairman following the results.
Asked whether the Labour victories suggested the Tories needed to change tack, he said: “What we are saying is we need to carry on delivering but also move into new policy areas and also reflect on the fact that Conservatives are not feeling sufficiently incentivised at the moment to come out and vote Conservative.”
Speaking alongside winning candidate Alistair Strathern at the Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park near Bedford today, Sir Keir claimed his party was “redrawing the political map” by taking seats which had been comfortably Conservative.
Praising what he called “an incredible achievement”, he added: “We know that voters here have voted for us and they’ve put their trust and their confidence in a changed Labour Party, and we will repay them for that trust and confidence.
“We do so humbly. And I know there are people yesterday who probably voted Tory in the past who voted for a changed Labour party because they despair at the state of their own party.
“I’m glad that they see that our party is changed and they can put their trust and confidence in them, and I hope that that persuades other voters across the country who may have voted for other parties in the past, that the party of the future, the party of national renewal to reject the decline of the last 13 years, is this changed Labour Party.”
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