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Brits ‘think Tories are b***ends’: Ex-minster Paul Scully joins Conservative Commons exodus with extraordinary parting shot at party’s lurch to the Right


Ex-minister Paul Scully today launch a broadside at the Tories‘ political lurch to the right today as he became the latest party MP to announce they will quit at the next election. 

The former London minister became the 59th to reveal they will step down later this year amid gloom over the party’s prospects of holding on to power. 

He launched a broadside into the state of the Conservative machine as he announced he would not contest his Sutton and Cheam seat, saying it had ‘lost its way’ and needed wider appeal.

After weeks of bitter public arguments over the economy, immigration and race relations he warned that it was in an ‘ideological cul-de-sac’ and risked seeing support wither away even further if it did not attract younger supporters.

In a pithy summation he urged the party to return to the centre ground, saying: ‘We can work with the bell curve or become the bell-ends. We need to make that decision. I fear the electorate already is!

He also criticised the decision to choose Susan Hall to run for London mayor, after he failed to make the shortlist. 

It came as a new poll showed Tory support at its lowest level for almost 50 years

The former London minister became the 59th Tory MP to reveal they will step down later this year amid gloom over the party's prospects of holding on to power.

The former London minister became the 59th Tory MP to reveal they will step down later this year amid gloom over the party’s prospects of holding on to power. 

In a pithy summation he urged the party to return to the centre ground, saying: 'We can work with the bell curve or become the bell-ends. We need to make that decision. I fear the electorate already is!'

In a pithy summation he urged the party to return to the centre ground, saying: ‘We can work with the bell curve or become the bell-ends. We need to make that decision. I fear the electorate already is!’

Mr Scully told the Evening Standard he had been disappointed not to make the three-strong shortlist to be the Conservative candidate, adding: 'I don't think they had Londoners' best interests [in mind] when they were working out the job description that they were trying to select for.'

Mr Scully told the Evening Standard he had been disappointed not to make the three-strong shortlist to be the Conservative candidate, adding: ‘I don’t think they had Londoners’ best interests [in mind] when they were working out the job description that they were trying to select for.’

The latest Ipsos poll for the Standard found the Tories were on 20 per cent support - down from 26 per cent last month, and lower than at any point since 1978

The latest Ipsos poll for the Standard found the Tories were on 20 per cent support – down from 26 per cent last month, and lower than at any point since 1978

Writing on X this morning, Mr Scully said: ‘Fuelled by division, the party has lost its way and needs to get a clear focus which I hope the Budget can start to provide. It needs a vision beyond crisis management which can appeal to a wider section of the electorate including younger people.

‘If we just focus on core vote, eventually that core shrinks to nothing. Talk more about housing; renting first because home ownership has drifted too far from so many. Show a real connection and empathy with other generations…

‘Otherwise we risk pushing ourselves into an ideological cul-de-sac. The standard deviation model is true in politics. Most people are in the middle.’

Who are the Tory MPs standing down at the general election?

  1. Douglas Ross, Moray
  2. Sir Charles Walker, Broxbourne
  3. Crispin Blunt, Reigate
  4. Mike Penning, Hemel Hempstead
  5. Adam Afriyie, Windsor
  6. Chloe Smith, Norwich North
  7. William Wragg, Hazel Grove
  8. Dehenna Davison, Bishop Auckland
  9. Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove
  10. Sir Gary Streeter, South West Devon
  11. Andrew Percy, Brigg and Goole
  12. Mark Pawsey, Rugby
  13. George Eustice, Camborne and Redruth
  14. Edward Timpson, Eddisbury
  15. Jo Gideon, Stoke-on-Trent Central
  16. Stephen McPartland, Stevenage
  17. Sir Paul Beresford, Mole Valley
  18. Robin Walker, Worcester
  19. Sir Graham Brady, Altrincham and Sale West
  20. Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire
  21. Gordon Henderson, Sittingbourne and Sheppey
  22. Craig Whittaker, Calder Valley
  23. Nicola Richards, West Bromwich East
  24. Henry Smith, Crawley
  25. John Howell, Henley
  26. Sir Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby
  27. Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdon
  28. Dr Matthew Offord, Hendon
  29. Alister Jack, Dumfries and Galloway
  30. Richard Bacon, South Norfolk
  31. Dominic Raab, Esher and Walton
  32. Philip Dunne, Ludlow
  33. Andy Carter, Warrington South
  34. Will Quince, Colchester
  35. Royston Smith, Southampton Itchen
  36. Sir William Cash, Stone
  37. Lucy Allan, Telford
  38. Steve Brine, Winchester
  39. Sir Greg Knight, East Yorkshire
  40. Chris Clarkson, Heywood and Middleton
  41. Ben Wallace, Wyre and Preston North
  42. Trudy Harrison, Copeland
  43. Stuart Andrew, Pudsey
  44. Stephen Hammond, Wimbledon
  45. David Jones, Clwyd West
  46. Sir Alok Sharma, Reading West
  47. Chris Grayling, Epsom and Ewell
  48. John Baron, Basildon and Billericay
  49. Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
  50. Dr Lisa Cameron, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
  51. Jamie Wallis, Bridgend
  52. Sir James Duddridge, Rochford and Southend East
  53. Oliver Heald, North East Hertfordshire
  54. Mike Freer, Finchley and Golders Green
  55. Kwasi Kwarteng, Spelthorne
  56. Nickie Aiken, Cities of London and Westminster
  57. Tracey Crouch, Chatham and Aylesford
  58. Kieran Mullan, Crewe and Nantwich
  59. Paul Scully, Sutton and Cheam

Mr Scully told the Evening Standard he had been disappointed not to make the three-strong shortlist to be the Conservative candidate for London mayor, adding: ‘I don’t think they had Londoners’ best interests [in mind] when they were working out the job description that they were trying to select for.’

His announcement comes says after he was criticised for saying that parts of London with large Muslim populations had become ‘no-go areas’. 

He told the Standard: ‘At the moment we’ve lost focus as a party. The Budget clearly is a moment to try and regain that focus, but if we don’t then there’s a real risk that we just repeat the mistakes of 1997 and start chasing an ideology rather than listening to what people actually want.

‘I don’t want to retire as a politician but I’m not going to be part of the long term solution.

‘So it’s better for me to go. It’s been a real privilege to be the MP for my home area but it’s just the right time to go before things outside that home area start to present themselves.’

Mr Scully was among the many critics of Tory MP Lee Anderson, who was suspended for saying that mayor sadiq Khan was controlled by ‘Islamists’. 

But in a radio interview last week he said he could see what Mr Anderson was ‘trying to drive at’ in his remarks about pro-Palestinian protests. 

In a discussion about whether the Conservatives have a problem with Islamophobia, Mr Scully told BBC Radio London he didn’t like the term due to ‘wider connotations’ and said he preferred to use ‘anti-Muslim hatred’.

He went on to suggest that people had ‘concerns about… their neighbourhoods changing in parts of the North’, which he said were being reflected in a ‘really, really clumsy way’.

‘We’ve got to have a sensible use of language so we can have a constructive, adult debate about this,’ Mr Scully added. Pressed on his remarks, the MP continued: ‘The point I am trying to make is, if you look at parts of Tower Hamlets, where there are no-go areas. 

‘Parts of Birmingham, Sparkhill, there are no-go areas – mainly because of doctrine, mainly because of people abusing in many ways their religion. It’s not the doctrine of Islam to espouse what some of these people are saying. That is the concern that needs to be addressed.’

He later apologised for the remarks after being criticised by figures including Tory West Midlands mayor Andy Street. 

A shock poll today showed Tory support plunging to a 46-year low today amid signs Jeremy Hunt will fund a 2p cut to national insurance with hikes to other taxes in the Budget.

The unwanted landmark was hit in Ipsos research as the Chancellor and Rishi Sunak race to finalise the crucial pre-election fiscal package, due to be unveiled on Wednesday.

Mr Hunt looks set to try to appease demands to ease the burden on Brits by knocking 2p off national insurance. 

But the OBR watchdog’s grim outlook on the finances means the cost of around £10billion will need to be at least partly offset by increases elsewhere.  

Curbing tax breaks for wealthy non-doms – those who declare their main home is abroad for tax purposes – appears to be on the table, despite Mr Hunt having criticised similar Labour plans. 

Another £500million will be raised by imposing a levy on vapes and pumping up tobacco duties.

Higher air passenger duty on business flights, extending the windfall tax on oil and gas firms, and a raid on second home owners who let their properties are also being mooted.

Conservative MPs are already voicing alarm at the prospect of a largely cost-neutral Budget, with just months to go before an election and the tax burden heading for a post-war record

Conservative MPs are already voicing alarm at the prospect of a largely cost-neutral Budget, with just months to go before an election and the tax burden heading for a post-war record

Trimming planned public-sector growth after the election could free up a further £5billion.

However, Conservative MPs are already voicing alarm at the prospect of a largely cost-neutral Budget, with just months to go before an election and the tax burden heading for a post-war record.

And the latest Ipsos poll for the Standard found that the Tories were on 20 per cent support – down from 26 per cent last month, and lower than at any point since 1978.

Previous dark moments for the party include 22 per cent under John Major in May 1995, 23 per cent in July 1997 soon after Tony Blair came to power, and 23 per cent in December 2022 after the Liz Truss meltdown. 



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