The Conservative Party has been urged to respect the views of the Red Wall in order to keep northern votes in the next general election. Labour was last night handed a 33 point lead over the Tories in a YouGov poll, highlighting the need for Liz Truss to monitor her Government’s position.
Following his 2019 electoral victory, Boris Johnson thanked Red Wall Labour supporters who “lent him” their vote to produce a Tory majority.
He and his party pledged to uphold the values of those who “may not see yourself as a natural Tory”.
Less than three years later, the Financial Times reported that these typically traditional, socially conservative voters were “glad to see the back” of the former PM.
Commentators have since asked whether Ms Truss will be capable of winning over support in these so-called Red Wall areas.
New research suggests she will struggle, especially given her party’s recent lurch away from small-c, socially conservative policies.
Analysis by the Financial Times suggests that the Conservative Party of 2022 is more right-wing in terms of economic values and more liberal in terms of social values than that of 2019.
This is despite Conservative voters (and Brexit Party voters, which is significant given their positioning in the Red Wall areas) tending to be more left wing in terms of economics and more traditional when it comes to social values.
On immigration, for example, the Truss administration has suggested it could further “loosen” border rules in an attempt to boost the economy – but immigration is typically a significant topic in Brexit-voting regions (Brexit having once been considered a by-word for immigration), very much on the opposite end of the scale to “loosening” rules.
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He added that Tories should be listening to ore economically left wing, socially traditional commentators such as Nick Timothy, rather than groups, including the Institute of Economic Affairs, which put greater emphasis on what is deemed right-wing economics.
Conservative members of the Northern Research Group also this week urged Ms Truss not to abandon Mr Johnson’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.
Carlisle Tory MP John Stevenson instead told her administration to “double down on levelling up”.
He said: “That requires both short-term action in the form of tax cuts and investment in public services and, in the long term, finding ways to boost the productivity of towns and cities that have struggled for decades to retain talent and attract private investment.”
Writer Will Tanner commented: “Levelling up is morally, economically and politically vital…
“The party won’t close the polling gap without it.”