‘Wake up and smell the coffee!’ Warning to Sunak’s Tories over election wipeout
Mark Francois urges Tories to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ over election
A senior Brexiteer Tory MP has urged his party to “wake up and smell the cofffee” and make some urgent changes before they end up suffering a historically worst defeat at the next general election.
Mark Francois, chairman of the powerful European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative Brexiteer MPs, has warned that things need to change if the party is to survive at the next election.
Speaking on Camilla Tominey’s Sunday morning show oin GB News, Francois also said “there is room on the right pew” of the party to welcome back Nigel Farage.
But he insisted that despite leadership speculation “Rishi Sunak will lead us into the next election.”
However, he admitted he “admires” former Home Secretary Suella Braverman who some believe is plotting to replace Sunak.
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Mr Francois said: “John Curtice, the electoral [polling] guru, said if things stay as they are, we could be reduced to 130 seats. That’s where we are. And there’s no point pretending that we not that we’re not.
“I would say that, whether you’re in the ERG or the TRG, across the Conservative Party, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee.
“Because if things remain as they are, we are heading for a defeat. We don’t want to lose, we don’t want a Labour government. We’re all going to have to work together to do something about it.
“What should that something be? We have a number of good policies, but they’re atomised. I think what’s missing, and some of your colleagues in the media have pointed this out, you’ve pointed this out, there is no overall compelling narrative as you would say, there’s no overall story.”
The tracker poll by Techne UK for Express.co.uk revealed that the Tories could be heading for well under 100 seats last week.
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Mr Francois also defended the decision by the so-called “Five Families” on the right of the party made up of five political groupings including the ERG, to not vote down Sunak Rwanda Bill at its Second Reading stage.
He denied they were “blowhards” and insisted “we chose a moderate path”.
He said that veteran Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash is already in discussion with government lawyers about an amendment which would fix the Bill.
Francois is also planning a dinner with Damian Green, chairman of the rival One Nation group on the left of the party, to find common ground on the issue,.
The One Nation Party has warned it would rebel if there are changes to the Bill which undermine international lawe while the right wants international law blocked from illegal immigration issues and deportation flights to Rwanda.
But the ERG chairman said that stopping the boats is essential for winning the next eleciton.
He said: “Stopping the boats is necessary, but it’s not sufficient. Where are we? Some people think there could be a General Election on the second of May to coincide with the local elections.
“My instinct is, partly for economic reasons, it’s going to be the autumn but it could be – let’s just assume for a moment it is the second of May, right?
“In which case, even if you have a relatively short campaign, Parliament would have to be dissolved, which is the starting gun for the general election, in mid-April. Today is the 17th of December.
“So we’re less than four months from the beginning of a General Election campaign. In that scenario, we’ve been 20 points behind consistently in the poll of polls for longer than that.”
Mr Francois also made it clear that he would like to see Farage back in the party but not necessarily as leader.
He said: “I’ve known Nigel for many years. He’s a rock star politician, there’s no denying.
“We’ve always been a broad church. I think there’s some room on the right pew.”
Asked by Camilla Tominey if Farage could be a future Tory PM, he said: “I think you’re going about five fences ahead.
“Your question to me was can I countenance Nigel Farage one day re-joining the Conservative Party? And the I think the answer to that is yes.”
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