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Mon, 27 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
Defence
Press releases

Young Conservatives Feel Ignored By Their Party

A young Conservative campaigns during 2022's leadership contest (Alamy)

3 min read

A new survey by a grass roots group for young Tories has found that three quarters of young Conservatives do not think that the party’s current policies address the concerns of their age group.

The poll by Blue Beyond – a think tank whose aim is to bolster engagement among young Conservatives – shows that of the 131 of their members surveyed, almost seven in ten (67 per cent) are either “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with the state of the Conservative party. Two in three (66 per cent) think that is “very unlikely” or “unlikely” that the party will win the next general election, which must be called before the end of 2024. 

The Conservative Party has polled in single figures among 18-24s, and ministers have come under pressure from their own benches to act on numerous policy measures that could appeal to younger people, such as housing and childcare. 

The Blue Beyond data also indicates that 77 per cent of those polled do not think that the party’s policies have young people in mind, and 34 per cent said that they would not be willing to campaign for the party. 

However, those polled were divided on which direction the party should go in, with 41 per cent saying that they would like it to be more socially conservative, while 40 per cent said they would like it to be less socially conservative. 

“This set of polling paints a bleak picture, and shows how big the gap is between Conservative Party policy and the needs of young people," Liv Lever, the director of Blue Beyond said.

“Young Conservatives are becoming increasingly disgruntled and disenfranchised from politics due to unsavoury policies, in turn losing talent and voters in the long run.

“Before the next general election we urge the Conservative Party and MPs to convene with Young Conservatives to ensure policies do not penalise young people.”

Earlier this month data from leading pollster YouGov showed that only 4 per cent of 18-24 year-olds would vote Conservative if there were a general election tomorrow. This rose to only 8 per cent among 25-49 year-olds, and 16 per cent among people aged 50-64. 

By contrast, on the same question Keir Starmer’s Labour Party polled at 30 per cent for 18-24 year-olds and 35 per cent among the next oldest group. 

Former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke is among the Conservative MPs who have said that the party should champion policies that would specifically win back young voters. 

“We can’t convince young people to vote for the party if we don’t enable it,” he wrote on X earlier this year. He has called for lower taxes, more housing and policies that support families. 

Solicitor General Robert Courts has also previously said that there is an “increasing imbalance” between people who do and do not have assets, with older people more likely to be in an advantageous position.

“The thing that's underpinned Conservative support for decades is the fact that people have a stake in society: homeownership, savings and having a little bit to spare," he told PoliticsHome last month. "Capitalism seems to have these days become a dirty word, because it's seen as being all about big corporations: that's not what capitalism means. It just means having some capital of your own.”

“Over the past 40 years or so, there's been an increasing imbalance in the political economy, essentially between those who've got assets i.e. those who are older in life, and those who don't i.e. the younger people.”

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