Violent language risks making Conservatives the 'nasty party' again, MP warns

Posted On: 
15th December 2018

A senior Tory MP has warned that vicious infighting could revive the Conservatives' "nasty party" image and result in electoral disaster.

Toy MP Robert Halfon has served as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party
Paul Heartfield

Robert Halfon, a former party deputy chairman, told the Times: “This is a disaster for us electorally. It is not just that there is intemperate language, it is also that there is so much of it that it seeps through to the public. And it reinforces all the negative stereotypes about us as the ‘nasty party’.”

He added: "Just compare our language to the language coming from Labour about poverty and compassion. Ours is awful, it could not do more damage to our party. It makes us look like we are in Mad Max territory or Lord of the Flies."

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Unnamed Brexiteer MPs were quoted in October as saying that Prime Minister Theresa May should “bring her own noose” to a meeting of the backbench 1922 committee.

Another Leaver is reported to have described ex-Work and Pension Secretary Esther Mcvey as “hunger wearing lipstick”.

He said that while he did not think the attacks on Ms Mcvey or the Prime Minister were because they are women, “this talk does make it harder to attract women voters, even though we have a female Prime Minister".

Brexit divisions in the Tory party burst into the open this this week when Brexiteer MP Andrew Bridgen refused to appear on television with the party’s deputy chairman James Cleverly ahead of a confidence vote on Mrs May's leadership.

Mr Bridgen chose to walk off the Victoria Derbyshire programme live on air instead of debate his party colleague.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond was also heavily criticised for referring to the 117 MPs who vote against Mrs May in this week’s vote of confidence as “extremists”.

Foreign Office Minister  Alastair Burt was similarly dismissive about colleagues, commenting that “after the apocalypse, all that will be left will be ants and Tory MPs complaining about Europe and their leader”.