Leadership for a New Generation

25th September 2018

Unless a New Generation of us from all wings of the Conservative Party – whether we voted Leave or Remain in the Referendum - come together and set out an inspiring programme of bolder Conservative reforms, we’ll gift Corbyn the keys to Downing Street. The fact that Corbyn has been able to present himself as the champion of wider share ownership should be a warning sign of how much of the reform agenda we risk gifting if we don’t set out a compelling Conservative alternative.

That’s why I’m so passionate about us leading the #battleofideas which is reshaping politics. If we as Conservatives simply rely on our traditional credentials as competent administrators, we’re in trouble: post-Crash austerity and Brexit have changed the rules of electability.

That’s why - as well as delivering a sensible moderate One Nation Conservative Brexit (not a divisive and triumphalist UKIP Brexit) - I believe we need a bold policy #Renewal Programme to recast Brexit as a catalyst for domestic reforms in the spirit of a New Generation.

To do that I believe we need to make clear - now - that this is our ambition, and that Brexit is a gateway to inspiring reforms to tackle the burning injustices of a new Post-Crash New Generation: with practical 21st century policies not Corbyn’s reheated old socialism.

Unless we do that, I believe we risk Brexit being the final straw for a whole generation of voters under the age of 45 (whether in public services, in science, Universities, professionals, and many in in business) who would see it as the moment the Conservative Party put its own ideological battles ahead of voters’ day to day concerns.

To recast Brexit as a moment of New Generation #Renewal I do think will take a New Generation leader. That is why I think that if the PM was to announce that she was to hand on to a New Generation leader after honouring her promise to deliver Brexit, she would win huge plaudits and enhance her authority.

With a bold New Generation unity Cabinet next summer, recasting Brexit as a moment of One Nation #Renewal for a new generation of voters, I think we could win the next election and defeat Corbynism and the new hard Left. That’s my focus and only ambition - to be part of a unity One Nation Government of #Renewal which ends the Brexit Civil War with a positive and inspiring programme of reform. I still believe - just - that we could recast this as moment of inspiring unity rather than depressing division. Without that I fear Corbyn and McDonnell will win.

Naturally, commentators focus on ‘who should be leader?’ - but our focus should be on ‘what are the principles, ideas, and policy reforms which would unite the Party and the Nation?’ Our party is bursting with talent and fresh thinking in the 2010, 2015, and 2017 intakes. We need to think more about the ‘we’ than the ‘I’, focus more on the programme than the personalities, and make an inspiring team which draws on all our talents in a Cabinet and Government of unity and renewal. If and when the PM stands aside and there is a leadership contest we should encourage as many views and voices to be heard as possible, so that the right leader emerges.

All of us who share a passion and vision for Conservatism in the 21st Century should be hungry to serve. By showing that spirit and constructing a Beyond Brexit Cabinet and Government I believe we can make this the moment of Renewal we need.

Big Tent Ideas Festival

Politics is undergoing a tectonic shift. That’s why I launched the Big Tent Ideas Festival, aiming to tackle the most difficult policy challenges we face. The Festival has now run for two years. This year we hosted our first-ever Leaders’ Summit and brought nearly 2,000 people together for the main Festival across fifty events and eight different tents, discussing ideas to reform our politics, our economy and our society.

The Big Tent Ideas Festival is part of the Capital Ideas Foundation, founded by a group of entrepreneurs to campaign for renewal in the radical centre-ground. Over the next year, we will be setting off round the country as the forum for the best new ideas in public policy. Click below and join us.

Read more:

Big Tent Ideas website


We are in the middle of a Brexit civil war. What is clear is that the existing options will not unite our country.

Chequers has been dismissed by Brussels and is roundly rejected by the ERG. The Canada option was also not designed for the circumstances we currently face. We are a European nation already heavily reliant on the single market - wanting ideally to retain access to the single market without being in the 'political' union.

That’s why I believe ongoing membership of the European Free Trade Association is now the obvious route. It would give us off-the-shelf access to the single market, allow us to take back control of our fishing and farming industries, control free movement and let us negotiate our own trade deals.

Unless we stand up and fight for a sensible moderate Brexit, we risk enduring a #HardBrexit. There is an alternative that we can embrace now. It is time to embrace EFTA.


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