Conservative election campaign was a ‘disaster’ as Sunak wasn’t a ‘natural campaigner’, defeated Tory MP tells LBC

8 July 2024, 18:46

Simon Clarke speaks to LBC's Andrew Marr
Simon Clarke speaks to LBC's Andrew Marr. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The Conservatives' election campaign was a "pretty good disaster" and Rishi Sunak is not a "natural campaigner", defeated Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke has told LBC.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Speaking exclusively on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the former Levelling Up Secretary also said he had a ‘slight out of body experience’ today listening to Rachel Reeves’ speech on house building.

Sir Simon told Andrew that some of what she said was ‘right and important’ and in parts a speech he could have delivered himself.

Reflecting on his parties' campaign, he told LBC: "I think it was a pretty good disaster and the causes of that were complex. Not all of those by any means sit with Rishi Sunak and the people in No.10 around him.

"Now that this is all over, I think I can say what I honestly feel, which is that he is a very good man and a very talented administrator, but he's not a natural campaigning politician."

Sir Simon Clarke brands election campaign a 'disaster'

Pressed further on what went wrong for the Tories, Sir Simon pointed out the National Service policy, which he admitted was not appealing to many voters.

He continued: "A classic example was that our first policy announcement was National Service, which was out of the clear blue sky.

"It wasn't something which anyone had ever spoken to me about on the doorstep and it didn't sit well with me and I know a number of Conservatives who believe in individual freedom, and just felt like we were talking past the public rather than to them.

"And whilst I completely accept lots of people want civic engagement to be a theme of our national conversation, I don't think that was what I would have led into the campaign with. And we didn't have compelling answers on public services or on house building or on lots of the things which I think really matters."

Read More: Homes on green belt: Rachel Reeves sets out homebuilding plans to boost growth in first speech as Chancellor

Read More: Labour has inherited ‘worst set of circumstances since second world war,’ says Rachel Reeves

As for his reflection on the Chancellor's speech, Sir Simon said he experienced an "out of body experience".

"Whilst clearly there are massive differences between how the Chancellor approaches these questions and how I would, I also think that some of what she said in her speech today was right and important," he continued.

Peter Kyle: 'We aren't going to let anything get in the way of putting food on people's tables first'

"And I've been a strong advocate for growth. I think that those fundamental insights of what Liz talked about was absolutely right, even if the execution was wrong.

"And I think when it comes to these questions they are now really important issues that the Conservative Party needs to face up to here. House prices are now at their most expensive relative to earnings since 1876, they are about nine times average earnings now. In the 1990s that was about four times.

"So, there has been a massive problem with our house building industry, a lack of, frankly, the ability to produce sufficient land supply. If we resist what the government is setting out here, I worry it's going to put us in a very bad place with the voters because actually, we do need to solve this."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A series of Israeli strikes have been launched against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah in Yemen

Israel launches series of air strikes on Houthi-controlled city in Yemen day after group claim deadly attack on Tel Aviv

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's GoFundMe page hits £70k after teen's mum appeals for funeral donations

Holidaymakers have been left stranded during global IT outage

'We're not being given any information': Furious holidaymaker stranded in Rhodes tells of travel hell after IT outage

A burnt out car in the Leeds suburb of Harehills, after vehicles were set on fire and a police car was overturned as residents were warned to stay home following an outbreak of disorder on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2024.

Further unrest in Leeds as hundreds take to streets to 'demand return of children' allegedly removed from local family

NHS England has warned of "continued disruption" to GP services into next week.

NHS warns of GP disruption after global IT outage as trains, planes and roads remain in chaos leaving Brits stranded

Planes, trains and roads have been hit by travel chaos following Friday's IT outage.

Holiday hell: Trains, planes and roads in chaos after global IT outage - with thousands of Brits stranded abroad

Graham Gomm

Prisoner who escaped custody at HMP Wormwood Scrubs during hospital trip is arrested following manhunt

Charles and Camilla attend the King's Parade outside Pomme d'Or Hotel, Liberation Square in St Helier, Jersey

Charles and Camilla 'rushed to safety by security' after suspect 'spotted on roof' just days after Trump rally shooting

A highway bridge collapsed in northwest China.

At least 12 people dead and more than 30 missing after China bridge collapses due to flooding

Ray Reardon has died

Snooker legend Ray Reardon dies aged 91 after cancer battle

Steve Baker and Tom Tugendhat

Top Tory reveals why he is backing Tom Tugendhat to 'put the party back together' as leader

The National Lottery site and app is down

National Lottery down as users unable to access site and app day after global IT outage

Thousands of flights were cancelled across the globe on Friday.

Travel misery continues as global IT outage 'could take weeks to clear' - with over 5,000 flights cancelled worldwide

Nadiya Bychkova allegedly made a complaint to Strictly bosses

Strictly pro Nadiya Bychkova breaks silence over 'complaint' amid misconduct scandal

An independent review has recommended teachers and nurses get 5.5% pay rises

Teachers and nurses among millions of public sector workers that should get 5.5% pay rise, ministers told

Tom Tugendhat

Two top Tories back Tom Tugendhat to be next Conservative leader