Ashcroft quits Tory party deputy chairman role

By politics.co.uk staff

The Conservatives’ main donor and deputy chairman, Michael Ashcroft, is to quit the party.

The dramatic move comes just months after his decision to forsake his non-dom status.

Lord Ashcroft wrote a withering attack on the Conservative election campaign, printed in the Telegraph, saying he was irritated the party did not win a “thumping majority” at the election.

“Why did these figures [double-digit poll leads] not translate into a thumping majority? The key lies in the gap between the change people wanted and the change people thought we were offering,” he wrote.

“Going into the election, many voters had little clear idea of what we stood for or what we intended to do in government.

“At a national level, too much of our message was focused on unnecessary and counterproductive attacks on Gordon Brown and Labour, which meant that voters were not clear about our own plans.

“We did not make as much progress as we should have done in transforming the party’s brand, and in reassuring former Labour voters that we had changed and were on their side.”

The newspaper said the comments were found in the executive summary of his book ‘Minority Verdict: The Conservative Party, the Voters and the 2010 Election’.

‘This is a record of what I thought at the time, and what I think now,” he said.

The strength of the comments raises the prospect of Lord Ashcroft becoming a permanent thorn in the side of David Cameron, as the extent of his disappointment with the party’s election campaign becomes clear.