Sajid Javid savages Theresa May's 'cult of personality' election campaign

Posted On: 
1st October 2017

Sajid Javid has accused Conservative strategists of turning the party's general election campaign into a "cult of personality" centred around Theresa May.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid offered a brutal assessment of his party's campaign
Credit: 
PA

In a full-blooded attack on the Prime Minister's performance, the Communities Secretary said his party threw away a golden opportunity in the space of just three weeks of campaigning.

His intervention comes after Mrs May admitted earlier this week that Tory HQ was not properly prepared for the snap election, even though it was her decision to go to the country.

Boris Johnson sets out personal Brexit ‘red lines’ in fresh challenge to Theresa May

Theresa May facing major rebellion over failure to cap energy bills

Theresa May: I will fight the next general election

In an interview with The Observer, Mr Javid made clear he was unhappy with the way the campaign focused so heavily on Mrs May herself, rather than letting local candidates tailor their message.

"When people go to vote still in Britain, they will look at their local representatives, but I don’t think there is a sort of cult of personality politics," he said.

"Obviously, they want to know who the leader is for each party, but I think there is a lot of identification with their local candidates.”

He pointed to the strong Conservative performance in May's local elections, arguing that it should have been a platform for a successful national campaign. 

Mr Javid questioned why his party did not do more on issues such as housing, transport and the NHS.

“In the local elections, for example, we left many of our local councillors and campaigners to come up with their local manifestos and focus on the core message of what you could expect from a Conservative council – costing you less, giving you more, backing their community and businesses. That worked well," he said.

“When it got to the general election, in some ways we almost went off message. For example, looking back, we should have talked much more about the economic change we’ve seen in the country in the past seven years – record number of jobs, lowest claimant count in over 40 years, record number of businesses.

“While we were banging on about Brexit, a lot of people were saying, ‘OK, I get that, I know you are going to deliver on Brexit, I know it is not straightforward, but what about housing? What about education? What about transport? What about the health service?’ ”