Boris warned he could LOSE Tories next election – key Red Wall ally turns on PM
Former Brexit Secretary says Boris should 'be a true Tory'
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Ben Houchen, who was re-elected as Tees Valley Mayor in May 2021 with a massive 72.8 percent of the vote, has warned the Prime Minister he must give Red Wall voters a reason to support the Tories at the next election. He has warned the party is at risk of losing to Labour if those voters who placed their trust in Mr Johnson in 2019 feel let down by his Government.
The Conservatives won their historic 2019 election majority largely thanks to Labour strongholds turning their backs on the party to lend their vote to Mr Johnson.
Thousands of voters in the so-called Red Wall backed the Tories for the first time in order to “get Brexit done”.
Mr Houchen said that while the success of the vaccine rollout during the pandemic is a victory for the Government, the Prime Minister must now deliver on his election promises to ensure those who backed in last time around do so again the next time the country goes to the ballot box.
“In 2019 Boris promised investment, jobs, and progress in areas left behind for decades by governments of all colours.
“That’s what Boris still can and should deliver,” he wrote in The Times.
“Boris still has a highly tuned political antenna — it’s what’s made him the great survivor in the brutal world of Westminster politics — but he needs to remember what will decide people’s votes when election day next comes.
“They’ll see the Government has had some real successes, especially in its truly world-leading vaccination and booster programmes.
“But they’ll be looking forward and looking for proof that they were right to back him and this Government to deliver a better life for them and their families.
“Most of them voted for Brexit, and they want to be proven right on that, too.
“People like to be proven right and those who voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 are looking for an excuse to do so again, but they will punish a Government which makes them regret their choices.
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“The British public gave this government a firm mandate and a decisive parliamentary majority to get Brexit done so that it could deliver levelling up across the country, restore pride to red wall towns, and turbocharge jobs and opportunities.”
After a series of scandals hit the Government in recent months, both the Conservatives and Mr Johnson have taken a hit in the polls.
Labour, after months of failing to make headway in opinion surveys, is now consistently leading the Tories in voting intention.
In figures that are a stark warning for the Conservatives, a poll last week from earlier this month found 49 percent of Red Wall voters were planning to back Labour again next time around.
The Deltapoll survey of the 57 constituencies the Tories gained in the 2019 general election found just 33 percent of voters were planning to stick with Mr Johnson.
Giving his advice to the Prime Minister on how to firm up support in the north of England he said voters “need to see with their eyes concrete evidence” the proof of Brexit was worth it.
He argued The Government needed to make the most of freeports, slash bureaucratic Brussels regulation and unleash new investment across the country.
The Tees Valley Mayor said: “He needs to make sure Britain gets the Brexit boost it needs: jobs, investment, growth, levelling up and a better future for every part of our country.”
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