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Totnes Conservative MP’s warning to David Cameron about 'posh inner circle'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 12, 2013

Sarah Wollaston has called on David Cameron to 'change his inner circle'

Comments (10)

A Westcountry Conservative MP has urged David Cameron to rid the party of its "posh, male and white" image within the next two months.

Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes, called on the Prime Minister to promote more women and reshuffle his "inner circle" before May's local election – arguing the upper echelons of the party need to be more representative of modern Britain.

The intervention came as reports suggest that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and ex-Defence Secretary Liam Fox are positioning themselves to succeed Mr Cameron.

Yet despite a series of poor opinion polls and election results, Dr Wollaston insisted she was a "Cameron loyalist" and the Prime Minister remains the "best person for the job".

Another Westcountry Tory MP has called for the Government to be "far more radical" and "if necessary ditch the Lib Dems" in the face of the alleged leadership threat.

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, writes on his blog that the Lib Dems are wrong to be promoting "more government expenditure and higher taxes" – arguing the "only answer is to drastically cut government expenditure, cut taxes and create an environment which encourages people to work and in which entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive".

"There is a way forward, Prime Minister; for the future of our country, please take it," he went on.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems plan to exploit the threat to the Tories posed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) by pouring resources into winning South West seats.

Following the success of UKIP at splitting the Tory vote in the Eastleigh by-election, Lib Dem strategists have put Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall at the top of the list.

In a series of tweets, Dr Wollaston, a backbencher elected in 2010, wrote: "Inner circle still look far too posh, male & white & Cameron is running out of time to fix it.

"I consider myself a Cameron loyalist; he is the best person for the job but should listen to critical friends.

"I am a Cameron loyalist but he needs to change his inner circle which just seems to be telling him what he wants to hear."

Writing for the Telegraph. co.uk website, she continued: "If David Cameron wants to occupy the 'common ground' he needs to look at how his inner circle of ministers and advisers look from the outside."

On becoming leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, Mr Cameron set about the task of "de-toxifying" the Conservative image. The modernisation agenda included introducing the A-list of would-be Conservative MPs, which aimed to broaden the number of minority group and women candidates.

In a message warmly greeted by many on the Tory right, senior backbencher Dr Fox issued a call for a public spending freeze of between three and five years, and challenged Mr Cameron's decision to protect the budgets of the NHS, schools and overseas aid. Home Secretary Mrs May fuelled speculation that she harbours future leadership ambitions after giving a detailed speech on Saturday that roved across a number of government briefs.

Mr Cameron is facing pressure to implement more right-leaning policies to ward off the UKIP threat, though others have cautioned it would spell disaster if the party ceded the centre ground.

The Lib Dems are targeting about 25 Tory-held marginal seats in the wake of the UKIP victory, it was reported yesterday. As previously reported in the Western Morning News, Lib Dem president Tim Farron has said three Tory seats in Cornwall are winnable, and Newton Abbot in Devon is high on the list.

The Government is also facing divisions over Business Secretary Vince Cable leading calls for more borrowing to kick-start the economy.

Writing in today's WMN, Mr Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, says abandoning deficit reduction "would make things worse not better".

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  • PeteTorq  |  March 12 2013, 11:52PM

    Well said conundrum I'm old enough to remember the "milk snatcher" the decimation of national industry, the deconstruction of social housing,education and the slow decay of moral consciousness. Who was it who said you get the government you deserve? But then what would this illusion of democracy be without a little mis-direction. Almost makes you feel sorry for starbucks! But I digress the irony or rather insolence of anyone who would describe themselves as a Cameron loyalist would expect for one moment to be believed that she stands for equality!

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  • conundrum  |  March 12 2013, 6:11PM

    @sammy cheese, I almost forgot: Of course you're absolutely spot on......public sector workers, all those greedy people working in hospitals, schools and so on, why should they even be allowed to join organisations to help them get a decent wage and working conditions ? it's an outrage! And a political party taking money from them.....that's downright immoral, they should be taking it exclusively from the financial sector or corporations instead....that would certainly avoid any conflict of interest.....obviously. Check out who Blair went to work for after leaving office and then you might get some idea of whose interests all political parties really work for, it's not yours or mine, unless of course you happen to be very wealthy indeed. By the way, it's not always safe to assume that criticism of one party implies support for another. ( clue: 'each successive government for 30 years' )

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  • conundrum  |  March 12 2013, 5:34PM

    @pingu007 Ah, UKIP the party for people who think the Conservative Party is too moderate but are too embarrassed to actually join the BNP. No I'm not worried, UKIP will probably remain a minority because luckily the majority of people aren't naive enough to vote for a single-issue party, aren't inherently racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sceptical about global warming, nor do they want to abolish inheritance tax and employers' National Insurance contributions, reverse the hunting and smoking bans, or increase defence spending by 40 per cent...etc., ...etc., And then there was that awkward personal manifesto published by Geoffrey Clark, a Ukip candidate for Kent Council Council, who advocated compulsory abortion of Down's syndrome foetuses and free euthanasia advice for pensioners.......I think they've now managed to lock him up in their HQ in the business park in Newton Abbot. Of course there is a remote possibility I could be horribly wrong here: I'm sure a lot of people thought that odd little man Schicklgruber would never get into power either.........

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  • robocop1982  |  March 12 2013, 3:42PM

    they'll leave us all here to die like rats. how are people going to survive with mass unemployment due to job shortages. its simply not fair to deny people access to resources because they have had all aid strangled off from them. THis governments methods are exceptionally brutal. i understand we need a system but that should not include strangling off all aid due to circumstances du to the fault of a system gone wrong. we need a more advanced method of control than money as money system means those with no jobs have all aid strangled off. that is very harsh and unusual

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  • Pingu007  |  March 12 2013, 3:32PM

    @ conundrum: "UKIP ( the foaming-at-the-mouth extreme right-wing of the Tory party" ... Gotcha worried, eh ?!! The main thing that unifies UKIP members is a strong belief that the UK would be better off out of the EU (note: the EU, NOT out of Europe) and all that the EU involves and implies. As to the rest, and certainly locally (ie: Torbay & Totnes), the ideologies of UKIP members are about as broad as you could get in a single party.

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  • vulcan  |  March 12 2013, 1:10PM

    A bit rich coming from a posh white female

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  • sammy_cheese  |  March 12 2013, 11:49AM

    I bet men don't spend as much time on their publicity photographs Sarah. Conundrum, you seem to have forgotten that the banks were bailed out well into a Labour governments third term. A labour government that supports the over unionised public sector and relies on the public sector unions for it's financial support.

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  • nicold  |  March 12 2013, 11:29AM

    But we encouraged more women into politics before and we ended up with Maggie Thatcher!! The fact is that women are no better than the men once they get into power!

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  • conundrum  |  March 12 2013, 9:57AM

    This article appeared yesterday. So if anyone still doubts that the WMN (a subsiduary of the Daily Mail) is basically the voice of the Conservative party thinly disguised as a regional newspaper, they might ask why all the comments added yesterday, which were mostly unfavourable, have vanished. So as we live in a relatively free society, here's mine again: by conundrum Monday, March 11 2013, 6:58PM "Oh dear....Dr Wollaston is insulting our intelligence here with a classic and rather feeble example of that old technique: misdirection. Here's how it works: Tories like Dr Wollaston want to 'shrink the state ' ( as she recently said in a newspaper article ) Basically that means privatizing as much as possible. This transfers money and assets previously owned by all of us to a very small group of people. These people then make large political donations and give MPs lucrative directorships. The very rich get richer.....and they get tax cuts too. The Tories started this under Margaret Thatcher, and they also deregulated the financial sector....and that worked out well didn't it?.....Oh, no, wait a minute : the bank bail-out cost us £20,000 for every single inhabitant of the UK, but it's given them an ideal excuse for 'austerity' ....and more privatization out-sourcing and deregulation..... what could possibly go wrong eh? So, the trick is to direct, or rather misdirect, attention and the blame somewhere else. They've tried the sick, disabled, low-paid and the unemployed. ( 'It's the huge welfare bill. ) The NHS (It's too expensive )....The public sector ( wages are too high )....and so on. Now, when an enthusiastic supporter of all this such as Dr. Wollaston, apparently unaware of the irony, tells you that the problem is because the Prime Minister ( Posh, white and male ) is surrounded by too many posh, white males, then that horrible grating noise is the sound of the barrel being well and truly scraped and you know the excuses have run out. The truth is that even if the cabinet was a peniless, multi-racial mix of male, female, and trans-gender politicians with the same political ideology, it wouldn't make the slightest difference. It's been tried, basically by each successive government for 30 years and it's failed. And just in case you're gullible enough to think UKIP ( the foaming-at-the-mouth extreme right-wing of the Tory party,) would be better, remember what Einstein said: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results is one definition of insanity.""

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  • sammy_cheese  |  March 12 2013, 9:23AM

    Oh come on Sarah, the Labour party worked for years to present a 'poor, female and black' image, they have now made themselves unelecable. Forget about image Sarah, concentrate on policy and fact. That's all we really want. You have been to too many focus groups.

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