Conservatives need their own Momentum or face "potential annihilation", says Robert Halfon

Catherine Neilan
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Momentum Members Rally In Support Of Jeremy Corbyn
Momentum succeeded because the group's ideas were simple and attractive (Source: Getty)

Conservatives need to realise that elections are "no longer based on conventional warfare", and encourage its own grassroots activists, if the party is to become "fit for the 21st century".

That's the view of Robert Halfon MP, former deputy party chairman and chair of the education select committee.

Writing in The Times today, the Harlow MP said the party must look to foster its own Momentum-style movement, which should be "led by brilliant organisers, given initial start-up funds and should adopt modern crowdfunding techniques".

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"Campaigning schools should be set up to train every activist about modern campaigning, whether it be social media or organising and participating in mass rallies. It would include a state-of-the-art rebuttal unit to bombard social media to counter both the arguments, “fake” facts and news put out by our opponents," he wrote.

The movement "must be seen as something a little different, something exciting and not bound by party collective responsibility", he added, noting that Momentum succeeded because the group's ideas were "simple and attractive to would-be supporters".

Halfon, who has previously mooted a Conservative trade union movement, said the Tory Momentum must be innovative.

"It should offer welfare and other services in the manner of a trade union," he wrote. "It could become a trade union for conservative-minded people, campaigning for Tory workers rights and providing the members with services at the same time. It could offer the third of trade union members who vote Conservative an alternative body to be part of. It should be owned by the members in the manner of a Co-operative."

If the party fails to adapt it faces "potential annihilation next time", Halfon warned.

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