Former minister Robert Halfon calls for reform, saying Conservatives "have no message"

 
Catherine Neilan
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First Conservative Cabinet Meeting Of The New Government
Halfon says his critique is of the party, not Theresa May, whom he supports (Source: Getty)

Former minister Robert Halfon will tonight urge Conservative party to undergo "radical" reform if it is to avoid political oblivion, claiming "we have no message or narrative".

The ex-deputy chairman and former skills minister will tonight tell the Centre for Policy Studies that Labour has been allowed to lay claim to the "positive language of compassion", leaving the wider public with no real understanding of what Theresa May's party stands for.

Halfon will stress that his critique is of the party, and that he supports May as leader.

"We have no message or narrative," he will say. "No one really understands what Conservatism is all about, except in terms of austerity, economics and Brexit."

The party has become "technocratic... devoid of human understanding or without any emotional connection; a series of clothes pegs without any washing line," the MP for Harlow will say. 

Following a downbeat and backwards-looking party conference, Halfon will instead lay out his vision for making the Conservatives "a true worker's party", by offering all workers a "ladder of opportunity" focusing on education, jobs and prosperity underpinned by a "social ambulance".

Halfon has long pushed for a Momentum-esque movement within the Conservatives, and argued that the Tories should be a natural home for trade unions.

He will reiterate that stance during tonight's speech, urging party members and MPs to develop "a romantic and ethical message of our own, recognising that we need radical change if we are to inspire millions of people to vote Tory: not just with their heads because of the economy, but with their hearts too.

"Unless we do so, I believe that we will never get the strong majority that our country needs."

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