Blue collar Tories: Conservatives try to woo working class vote
By Charles MaggsFollow @charlesmaggs
A group of 63 Conservative MPs launched the Blue Collar Conservatism group today, with the aim of winning over working class voters.
In a nod to the party leadership, the group said the prime minister was right to put 'strivers' at the heart of the government's agenda in his leader's speech at the party conference.
Right-wing backbencher Phillip Davies is the parliamentary spokesperson for the group and said he wished to emphasise the party's meritocratic credentials.
"The group will argue that values – and not a politician's background – are the crucial factor in communicating effectively with blue collar voters and that it is today's generation of Conservative politicians who most closely represent the values of those voters who will determine the outcome of the next general election," he said.
The Conservatives need to repair the damage from the 'plebgate' affair that led to the resignation of chief whip Andrew Mitchell following the prolonged saga after his altercation with a policeman in Downing Street.
They also struggle with appearing representative of the country given the number of millionaires in Cabinet and the public schooling of senior figures, such as David Cameron and George Osborne.
A sprinkling of high profile MPs have joined the group, including former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox, who is increasingly seen as a figurehead for right-wing backbenchers.
The group appears to have goodwill of the leadership as the new chief whip Sir George Young – widely liked among backbenches – has also signed up.
Blue collar voters were crucial to Margaret Thatcher's election victories in the 1980s, particularly after the right to buy scheme, which allowed working class voters to buy their council houses.