EXCL Former Tory minister says Jeremy Corbyn will be PM unless party has 'radical' overhaul
A former Tory minister has warned Jeremy Corbyn will become Britain’s next Prime Minister unless the party undertakes a "radical revolution" to boost its support ahead of the next general election.
Robert Halfon said the Conservatives must overhaul their infrastructure, messaging, policies and campaigning strategy if it is to survive and prevent the Labour leader from entering Number 10.
The former education minister told the House magazine the party's elderly membership was a “disaster” and it must now attract new supporters.
Mr Halfon, who was sacked by the Prime Minister after June’s election, said the Tories' "could be at the edge of a precipice unless we have radical change".
He said: "I'm normally an incrementalist, I'm not a confrontational politician. But I actually think we need a radical, counterintuitive revolution in the Conservative party if we are to survive.
"If we don't radically reform our messaging, our machinery, if we don't focus on policies that really are there to help the lower paid, which are supported by people in metropolitan areas, I think, we'll face a precipice, Corbyn will be in Number 10."
The Harlow MP, who is also a former deputy Tory chairman, said voters back the party with “gritted teeth”.
He also warned the Tories’ problem with young voters is “massive” and cautioned against concluding that they supported the Labour party because of its pledge to scrap tuition fees.
Mr Halfon said: "It isn't just about money. I think if we make that mistake, we will make a big mistake as a party. I think young people are voting Labour because they believe that it is a noble thing to do,
"Who would not want to vote for a Labour party whose main mission is to help the underdog. I would love to do it, because why would you not want to do that?”
Meanwhile, George Freeman, who was head of David Cameron's policy board when he was Prime Minister, said the Tories may end up being "put out to pasture" by the electorate unless it comes up with fresh ideas.
He said: "I think the danger if we don’t revive our grassroots in the broader sense of both membership, but also informal support…then the danger is that the difficulty of this period of repairing the public finances after the crash and negotiating our way through Brexit, leave us exhausted and the public exhausted and put out to pasture to refresh..
“I think that’s our real challenge: can we refresh our grassroots whilst we’re in office. It’s the perennial challenge that all governments face.”