Right wing Conservatives are warning Tory leader David Cameron to resist political correctness when selecting representatives and choose local candidates who know about their area.
The Cornerstone Group called the party’s “A list” of parliamentary candidates “pseuds and posers of London’s chichi set and not enough time in normal Britain.”
David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate who wrote the report, said after examining 70 elections, “A thoroughly local approach requires a candidate who can offer genuine conviction and concern for the area they represent. The electorate can no longer be relied upon for traditional ties or loyalty to a single party. They are more often than not turned off by party politics or even politics generally. They want someone who can affect real change and influence life in the constituency for the better.
“I believe that we underestimate the electorate’s desire for their representatives to be clear about the values they hold. We can be so keen to water down anything which may alienate one group in society that we throw out the baby with the bathwater. We need to be more ready to say what motivates us to be in politics and the convictions we hold. We cannot expect the electorate simply to come out and vote as a matter of habit or duty; we need to work harder at giving positive reasons why they should be supporting a particular candidate.”
Chairman John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, said: “The idea that we can parachute insubstantial and untested candidates with little knowledge of the local scene into key seats to win the confidence of people they seek to represent is the bizarre theory of people who spend too much time with the pseuds and posers of London’s chichi set and not enough time in normal Britain.
“David Burrowes, like other Cornerstoners that captured their seats at the last election, has proved that standing up for what you believe in, sticking up for vulnerable people and stoically campaigning all year round on local issues are what counts with voters. That’s why I’m so pleased that David Cameron has decided to encourage early selection in target seats.”
Tory chairman Francis Maude has previously defended the parliamentary list which will place candidates in winnable seats for the next general election. He condemned people who were spreading “ridiculous caricatures” of the new list, in an interview with ToryRadio, a podcast that is independent of the party.
However, he recognised there would be some “resistance” to the names such as former soap star and gay icon Adam Rickitt.
Mr Maude said: “The idea that what we’re actually trying to do is insert mincing metrosexuals into gritty northern marginal seats is complete rubbish.”
Lesbian businesswoman and vice chairman of the party, Margot James, is also on the list.