Sir John Major Calls for a Brave New Conservative Approach

Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, has called on the Conservative Party to back Theresa May or risk Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. Major, was served as Conservative Prime Minister from 1990 until 1997, wrote in the Sunday Mail:

“I have watched the Conservative Party manoeuvrings of recent weeks with increasing dismay and have been saddened to see the news dominated by those who have been driven by their own personal agenda.

Their behaviour does nothing to repair the battered reputation of politics. It is not what our country wants or needs – nor does it serve it well. Politics is not a game. Government even less so. Their conduct has undermined their own party, their own Prime Minister, and their own Government. It is profoundly unbecoming and it must stop”.

He added:

I am among those who remember the far-Left influence on Labour governments in the 1960s and 1970s: the over-mighty unions; the strikes; the winter of discontent; the sky-high taxes. Thus, for me, the concept of a Labour government led by two convinced neo-Marxists is the return of a nightmare.

And if Labour were elected, no voter could say that they were unaware of the likely priorities of a Jeremy Corbyn government, for Mr Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have already spelled out the disaster they would inflict.

Mr McDonnell has been admirably frank. Born out of his distaste for the free market, his economic plans would be pure poison to any hope of prosperity. As for Mr Corbyn, his entire career has showcased his convictions: his admiration for revolutionary causes and unsavoury leaders are part of his political DNA. He holds to his views with honesty and sincerity, but they do not represent middle-of-the-road voters – nor any but a small handful of Britons.

I do not wish to see any sort of Labour government – although a tilt to the Left or Right is always in the nature of politics – but I recoil from the prospect of a Corbyn-led government”.

Major called for a review of policies, including the controversial universal credit:

“We must be ambitious. Deep-rooted problems need more than a piecemeal, timid, toe-in-the-water approach that might one day offer improvements. We need brave solutions. Our plans must engage government and private sector alike. We need to involve faster and better public investment. We need to widen and accelerate educational reform. And we must demonstrate a clear priority for the interests of the ‘have-nots’.

I hope such a programme will include a review of universal credit, which, although theoretically impeccable, is operationally messy, socially unfair and unforgiving. It is time for the Conservative Party to show its heart again, which is all too often concealed by its financial prudence. We are not living in normal times and must challenge innate Conservative caution”.

He also wrote for the need of more housing and improvements in education:

“We must persuade the Treasury that – while the cost of long-term borrowing is low – there is an opportunity to vastly accelerate public development of infrastructure and, in particular, housing. Useful initiatives have been announced but we need to go further. If this increases public debt we should – and could – accept that (as I believe the markets will) provided annual revenue expenditure is kept under control.

An essential ingredient is for the frustrating delays in planning law to be speeded up. To house our nation better, we must unshackle the private sector. We must ensure that the windfall gains from planning approval are shared fairly between the vendor and the community.

Many education reforms are under way; that is excellent. But we must move faster and further to skill the next generation. All our talents will be needed for us to thrive in a competitive world”.