Former Education Minister Brendan Clarke-Smith has been elected as Chair of the Blue Collar Conservatives, replacing Red Wall Rottweiler Lee Anderson upon his appointment as the Party’s Deputy Chairman. He told the group’s WhatsApp chat this morning:
“I am hugely grateful to all those who yesterday elected me as the new Chairman of the Blue Collar Conservatives group. It’s a great honour for me as a ‘working class Conservative’ myself. A big thank you to our former Chairman Lee Anderson, who we are all delighted to now see championing our cause as Deputy Chairman of the party. A tough act to follow!
Our values are as important now as they have ever been and I’m really looking forward to taking on the challenge and making sure we are at the forefront of our offer to the British public. This starts by listening to the grassroots of our party and making this a priority.”
Expect to hear more from the group soon…
Esther McVey has stepped down as chair of the Blue Collar Conservatives, ten years after setting it up with Philip Davis and Clark Vasey. The reins have been handed to co-conspirator favourite – and undeniably blue collar – Lee Anderson. Lee announced the move a few days ago on Facebook. His announcement post also revealed he was offered a job in Liz’s government, though turned it down as “being in [government] is not for me.”
Esther tells Guido she thought “it was time that I handed over the reins to someone else.”
“The genesis of it was that we could see most Labour MPs wouldn’t recognise a member of the working classes if they tripped over one and that actually those working class voters had more in common with Conservative Party values than the Labour Party – something that came to fruition at the last election with Boris.”
She praises Lee Anderson as a real-life example of the working class journey from Labour to Conservative, and therefore the “ideal person to ensure we retain those Blue Collar voters at the next election”. Lee’s wasting no time in the role and has already announced their latest campaign: pushing for life skills such as cooking to be mandatory lessons in school. What else…
With Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s roadmap to recovery due to be revealed on Wednesday, former Chancellor Norman Lamont today appeared on the latest episode of the ‘Blue Collar Conversations’ podcast to offer idea.
Speaking to former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, Lamont argues that the Government’s priority should be “jobs, jobs, jobs”.
He advocates focusing on pro-enterprise policies, such as cutting the cost of employing people and securing an employer national insurance holiday.
Lamont was joined by John Redwood. Both warned against tax rises. Instead, consistent with the ‘practical conservatism’ preached by members of the Blue Collar Conservatism caucus in Parliament, Lamont said:
“In the short term, you’ve just got to let borrowing take the strain and I would not put up taxes because I think if you put up taxes, you would stifle the recovery.
“And you know, it may take a couple of years before the recovery has really got going.
“I would let the borrowing rise in the short term. And then we can look at things further down the line, but I wouldn’t be in favour of putting up taxes, even if it became necessary in the longer run. I think it would be vital not to do it in the immediate future because it would just stop the recovery taking place.”
On the podcast, Lamont also reflects on his time behind the scenes in the Treasury, the civil service and the troubles that lie ahead for Sunak. Having been Chancellor during Black Wednesday, no doubt even Rishi will be tuning in to hear Lord Lamont this weekend…