It's not Labour that the Tories are losing to... it's the Stay At Home Party, says John Redwood

Rishi Sunak

The Conservative Party's unpopularity regularly comes up on the doorstep says John Redwood

John Redwood

By John Redwood

Published: 14/05/2024

- 12:00

Updated: 15/05/2024

- 13:57

The Conservative MP argues there is little appetite across Britain for a Labour Government

My website gets plenty of responses from people saying they do not want to vote for any of the main parties.

The stay at home party had an overwhelming win in the recent Council, police and mayoral elections. Plenty of people on doorsteps move on from criticisms of the Government to tell me they do not want Labour or Keir Starmer in office.

The 15 per cent of the public who think climate change is the immediate and highest priority crisis of our times split their votes between Greens and Lib Dems, with Greens offering the more muscular way of getting people to make big changes in their lifestyles.

The rest of the electorate who are not ready to buy a battery car and do not want a heat pump talk about how much money they have after tax to pay the bills, worry about how younger family members will afford a home of their own and want to see improved public services.

Many feel let down by all the major parties over migration. The public sees what many MPs ignore or deny, that if you invite in a million or more people to live, study and work here every year you need to provide for them.

After adjusting for the exit of maybe half a million others we still have increased our population by as much as 700,000 in a single year. All one million plus new arrivals need homes, healthcare and other public services. They may go to live in different places from the ones emigrants are leaving.

The main reason we are short of homes is the level of migration. Many new arrivals include people who lengthen NHS queues, whilst all need electricity, shops and other services. The UK has not kept up with all this extra demand.

The Government has now said it will make a substantial reduction in legal migration. Opposition parties talk of more safe routes for migrants and seem happy with high numbers of people coming in. The public is sceptical of whether numbers will be materially reduced to ease pressures on housing and public services.

Taking control of our borders was an important part of the Brexit campaign. The Government needs to restore voter faith by delivering a big reduction in migration. Inviting people in to do low paid jobs keeps wages down. We need a higher productivity better trained workforce supported by robots and AI, not more cheap labour.

As we see visible progress this year with a more moderate migration policy more people might well want to vote. There will be an important choice to be made about sustainable migration levels.

Failure to do so by those who are worried about this could leave us with a new government that believes in open borders and has no practical answers to the housing and public service problems that result.

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