Priti Patel says public want delivery on small boats pledge
Dame Priti Patel urged party activists to get behind Rishi Sunak as she made a speech on the need for the Conservative Party to reform and hand back power to the grassroots.
The former Home Secretary was addressing a meeting of the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), which was set up after the fury over the way Boris Johnson and Liz Truss were removed in coups by Tory MPs.
Ms Patel has been a popular figure for addressing fringes all week at the conference in Manchester and has not held back on her demands for the party to change direction on tax cuts and dealing with the leftwing woke agenda.
Her final speech in the Democracy Zone, organised by the Bruge Group was focussed on restoring democracy to the party.
At one point a member of the audience asked who should be leading the party after an election defeat and a large number of those present called out “Priti”.
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Dame Priti though urged the activists: “We need to get behind Rishi [Sunak]”
She warned that things “will be much worse if Labour and Keir Starmer win the election.”
But in what has been a difficult week for the Prime Minister she made it clear she believes he needs to change direction on a number of fronts.
The conference in Manchester has had a numer of high profile meetings with Liz Truss, Dame Priti, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lord Frost and other senior figures attacking current government policy.
Dame Priti is one of 33 MPs including Ms Truss to have signed a pledge vote against any attempt to raise taxes.
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After two days of attacking government policy, Dame Priti told her audience: “I’m just getting warmed up.”
She warned that the party had “regressed” in terms of its offer to the British people and giving its members a say.
She noted: “Often the British people are more conservative than the Conservative Part.”
Dame Priti said: “I personally feel like our party is becoming far too centralised.
“We’re seeing it across the board now and at association levels, but also in the selection of candidates.
“It seems to me that literally the selection of our candidates to be future MPs or future public servants is literally now being determined by a handful of people in CCHQ.”
She also warned that people were leaving the party because of “shenanagins in Westminster” which “saw two of our democratically leaders disposed of”.
However, asked whether the Conservatives have too broad a range of opinions she warned that “the party has to unite to defeat Labour.”
But she insisted that “the golden thread of democracy” needs to be restored in the party going forward.
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