Brandon Lewis vows to beef up Conservative digital campaigning
The new Conservative chairman has vowed to go "hell for leather" to win the online campaigning battle against Labour.
The party was outflanked at last year's snap election, with a number of negative stories going viral, particularly on issues such as animal rights.
That was a stark contrast to the 2015 campaign, where the Tories massively outspent Labour on Facebook adverts, contributing to a surprise victory for David Cameron.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Brandon Lewis - who replaced Sir Patrick McLoughlin this week - said he would be beefing up the digital operation at CCHQ so the party is better prepared.
"We are looking to expand how we do things digitally," he said.
“Being up front about this, I think there has been a great improvement recently but there is more to do and I’ll certainly be looking to drive that.”
The Great Yarmouth MP suggested Conservative voters were often reticent about expressing their support online.
“What I want to see out there is more and more of our activists and people who support some of the principles we’re outlining, whether it’s a particular policy or the whole package of government reforms, getting out there in the digital world saying so and spreading that message with us."
And Mr Lewis stressed the importance of getting the party "battle-ready" for a series of council elections in May.
“This is a tough year in the cycle of elections where we’ve got a lot of seats up.
“That’s how it works in the cycle, but we’ve still got to do everything we can to make sure we go hell for leather to make sure we do everything we can to get good representation for people in every community.”
The newly appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, James Cleverly, said during the last election a young mother who had posted a selfie with him online was promptly "monstered" by left-wing trolls.
Speaking to Pienaar's Politics, he said Conservative supporters were often reluctant to speak out online for fear of being bullied.
Mr Cleverly also denied he was looking to copy the success of Momentum's online campaigning but admitted the Conservative party could "learn lessons" from their success with social media campaigning.