Ousted Tory MP reveals David Cameron, but not Theresa May, has contacted him
One of the defeated Conservative MPs has criticised Theresa May for not getting in contact after the election – but revealed former prime minister David Cameron had sent him a text.
Stewart Jackson, who served as PPS to Brexit Secretary David Davis, lost his Peterborough seat to Labour by 600 votes in Thursday’s general election.
As pressure mounts on Mrs May over the Conservatives’ unexpected setback, Mr Jackson hit out at the “hubris and complacency” from the Prime Minister and her top team.
He said she needed to show “empathy and contrition” for creating a manifesto that amounted to “electoral poison”.
And he expressed disappointment that the Conservative leader – who yesterday said she was “sorry” for those Tory MPs who had lost their seats – had not been in touch.
“I’ve had a lovely text from David Cameron; I’ve had nothing from her or the chairman of the Conservative party, and I think that’s quite poor to be honest,” Mr Jackson told BBC Radio 5Live.
“That said, it’s not about me... I’m not bitter personally but I do think for the sake of the country and the party she has to try and articulate a much more positive, upbeat vision for our country – not just what we’re against but what we’re for.
“That starts with engaging with the parliamentary party, so let’s see an end of the hubris and the arrogance and the bunker mentality and let’s get out there as one united party, put the egos aside and start working.”
Asked what Mr Cameron said in his message, Mr Jackson revealed: “He said politics is brutal – and if anyone knows that, it’s David Cameron.”
The BBC has reported today that Tory MPs have delivered an ultimatum to Mrs May: that she must sack her top aides Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill or face a leadership challenge.
Mr Jackson said Mrs May should remain in place to “steady the ship”, but called for changes in light of the election campaign.
He added: “If you look at the BBC briefing before the manifesto, we were told ‘we’ve got to make tough decisions and if we lose a few seats that’s just collateral damage on things like social care’. We laughed at Jeremy Corbyn when he compared himself to Donald Trump. But what he was saying was Trump had energy and vibrancy and he motivated people and he also offered them things they liked and cared about and we didn’t.
“And for that reason she has to take responsibility for the manifesto we all ran on and some of us lost on.”
Another Tory candidate who lost his Commons seat was Neil Carmichael in Stroud.
He told the BBC that Mrs May should remain in place “for the timebeing” – but he echoed calls for changes in her top team.
“You can’t really run a government from an ivory tower situation,” he said.
“If I was the Prime Minister I’d have a thorough shake-up of what’s going on at No 10. I know Nick Timothy quite well actually but anyone who has got a lot to do with the manifesto that we were fighting on and the messaging that came with that really does have to think about their responsibility. The problem is we’ve now got a Conservative party which is not in a good place and the country – most important of all – in a very poor place as well.”