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Tories must face hard truths: Reform-lite wreckers like Braverman are why the public just don’t like us | Justine Greening

The PM danced to their tune and the dreadful election results were the outcome. The solution can’t be more of the same

  • Justine Greening was Conservative MP for Putney from 2005-19

Last week’s local election results may finally have sunk Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party. It lost all but one of the 11 mayoralty contests, and while Ben Houchen held on in Tees Valley, it was with a diminished majority. Labour were out of sight in winning the Blackpool South byelection with a 26% swing, and more broadly in local elections across England the Tories lost nearly half the council seats they were defending.

These losses are staggering, but so too is the reaction of would-be Tory rebels, the Reform-lite group. They have suggested they will not challenge Sunak now; as Suella Braverman put it, it is Sunak who should “own this and fix it”. It is the height of political self-unawareness – because it is their political gameplan that Sunak’s rudderless No 10 has been attempting to follow. It is as a result of their flawed political judgments that support for the party has plummeted the length and breadth of the country, and across generations of voters – so much so that shockingly, the party only now leads in the over-70s voter age group. The 2024 local election results are their responsibility to “own”, not just the prime minister’s.

Justine Greening was education secretary and minister for women and equalities, 2016-18, and Conservative MP for Putney, 2005-19

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