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Jacob Rees-Mogg says the young Conservative party has ‘lost its way’ | General Election 2024

Jacob Rees-Mogg says the young Conservative party has ‘lost its way’ | General Election 2024

Jacob Rees-Mogg says the young Conservative party has ‘lost its way’ | General Election 2024

The Conservatives have lost their way after 14 years in government, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said in a leaked recording of a meeting with young Tories that exposes disheartenment at senior levels within the party.

The former business secretary told young activists at a meeting in March that he felt the party had squandered its chance to achieve anything substantial over the past five years, having won a majority in 2019.

His candid comments fly in the face of the optimistic tone Rishi Sunak is trying to strike in the final days of the campaign. The prime minister told the BBC on Sunday that he felt people were better off now than in 2010.

In the recording, which has been given to The Guardian, Rees-Mogg said: “Where I feel we have lost our way slightly after 14 years of government, and why I want to talk to you about the principles of being a Conservative, is that the more The longer you are in government, the greater the risk that you will become an administrator instead of remembering why you are there in the first place.

“We need to reinject ourselves with that belief, that confidence in ourselves.”

Asked by an aide why the Conservatives had not done more with their 2019 majority, Rees-Mogg said: “It’s a fundamental question, why haven’t we done it? What’s the excuse?”

He said: “We got the majority (in 2019), and then what happens? COVID-19. We’re out for two years, we couldn’t get on with things… And that stopped us and then the party decided to expel Boris Johnson, which was complete stupidity and has stopped us from getting on with things ever since.

“(We are) further away from the mandate, a divided party, etc. “That’s why we haven’t done what we should have done, but the only real period to do it was from 2019.”

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He specifically singled out the failure to reform the planning system as one of the Conservatives’ main omissions in government. He asked who among those in attendance wanted to own their own home by the age of 35, before adding: “It seems to me that this is a fairly widespread ambition, and yet our planning system is making it as difficult as possible because it is top-down controlled and it is a failure.”

Rees-Mogg did not respond to a request for further comment, but his comments in March highlight the anger felt by many Conservatives not only at the prospect of losing the election but also at having nothing more to show for it after 14 years in power.

The prime minister spent Sunday trying to refute what he called the “declinist narrative” about Britain’s trajectory since the Conservatives took power in 2010.

He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “It’s a better place to live than it was in 2010. Of course I understand that the last few years have been tough for everyone – we had a once-in-a-century pandemic, followed by a war in Ukraine which increased everyone’s bills and of course that’s been tough for everyone.”