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No Boris Johnson, no deals with Nigel Farage: it’s time for the Tories to get serious | Paul Goodman

The party must look to a new generation and restore its reputation for economic competence

One Nation or hard right? “Red wall” or “blue wall”? Cameroon or Faragist? As yet another Conservative leadership contest looms, the usual questions are already being asked. In making their choice, the very first thing the Tories should do is work out what went wrong. Some of which wasn’t their fault – such as Covid and the Ukraine war. And some of which was: consider the Boris Johnson chaos and Liz Truss’s mini-budget.

Why do voters elect the Conservatives in the first place? Because, rightly or wrongly, they associate the party with economic competence. So the first task of a new leader will be to apologise for the mistakes of the past, and begin rebuilding the party’s reputation for economic competence. That will take a while. Other than their standard of living, voters’ two other big concerns are the NHS and migration. That means value for money in the first – and supporting Wes Streeting’s private sector plans – and getting numbers down for the second.

Paul Goodman is the executive editor of ConservativeHome and a former Conservative MP

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