Tory election guru Lynton Crosby says next PM must give public a 'sense of hope'
Tory polling guru Sir Lynton Crosby says the next Tory leader must give the British people “a sense of hope” and must be “someone of character”.
The political strategist, who is understood to be helping to mastermind Boris Johnson’s campaign to be Prime Minister, did not mention any of the hopefuls by name.
But speaking at an event in Westminster on whether the Tories can win a majority at the next general election, he suggested a new leader in Number 10 could “create the opportunity to be heard again”.
He said: “You need someone who can articulate the case. You need someone who has character. The most successful politicians today are those who have some element of character.”
The Australian, who ran Mr Johnson’s successful London mayoral campaigns in 2008 and 2012, said whoever becomes leader “has to have the ability to connect with the voters and offer a sense of hope”.
Sir Lynton added: “Not some phoney, hollow, idealistic sense of ‘this is all going to be great’ but nevertheless give people a sense of belief.”
He said the UK was a “great country” but was suffering from a “crisis in confidence”, adding: "You cannot underestimate the impact of changing those dynamics and the way people will respond.”
Explaining the important thing was that “values drive voting intention”, he said they were the “innate qualities that are the moral compass for voters that parties should seek to align themselves with”.
Highlighting the victory of Scott Morrison in the recent Australian election as a template for any future Tory leader, he said the party must “clearly understand and express its values, and align the values with those of the wider British public”.
He also rejected the idea that the Conservatives were ever the “nasty party”, as they were memorably described by Theresa May.
Sir Lynton also declined to answer who Mr Johnson would least like to face in the final two, saying anyone prepared to run is “as far as I’m concerned, one of God’s children”.
'NO SAFE SEATS'
But Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, who was also on the panel hosted by the Policy Exchange think tank, enthusiastically talked up Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who she is backing to be leader.
She said the Tories could win another majority, but called for a clear national message, something echoed by former party chairman Lord Feldman, who attacked the 2017 campaign for having no “single chain of command”.
In a veiled attack on some of the right-wing leadership hopefuls, Ms Rudd said “fighting from the centre ground” was the best way for the Conservatives to win a majority.
She said the lesson of the last General Election was that in marginal seats “anything can happen”, and “there are no safe seats anymore”.
And it is not just about having “the most dynamic story of the day”, she explained, saying Conservatives win elections by showing “we are good at Government, we are reliable on the economy, that we are thoughtful about the union and can be relied on to look after this country”.
She said it was wrong to worry about just losing seats to the Brexit Party, saying the Tories should worry about the Liberal Democrats too, as she gets letters from voters saying they won’t back them again if they pursue a hard Brexit, adding: “So there are two side to this pulling us in both directions.”
Meanwhile, former Conservative chairman Lord Feldman also cautioned against another snap general election, saying: “I just think it should be avoided. Elections are complicated and they take time to prepare for and you should really rush into them.
"I think anyone who’s thinking of voting for an early election should think very carefully about it - I think it wouldn’t be a very good idea.
“Although I would say - in defence of CCHQ they have at least selected the candidates and we do have 170 campaign managers on the ground thanks to the current chairman and chief executive we’re better prepared than in 2017 but still there’s a lot, lot more work to be done.”