Government must ‘admit’ things have got worse since 2010, says Conservative MP

A senior Conservative MP has suggested his party must admit things have gotten “worse” since it joined government in 2010. 

Danny Kruger, a Conservative backbencher, added that his party has left the country “sadder, less united and less conservative” than they found it. 

Kruger is the co-chair, alongside Miriam Cates, of the right-wing New Conservatives group of backbench Tory MPs. 

His above comments were made both at an event last year and in response to questioning by The Guardian newspaper.

They come as the prime minister seeks to spark a revival for his party in the new year, with parliament returning today following Christmas recess. 

Speaking to a private event of Conservative members organised by the think tank ResPublica late last year, Kruger told attendees: “The narrative that the public has now firmly adopted – that over 13 years things have got worse – is one we just have to acknowledge and admit”.

“Some things have been done right and well. The free school movement that Michael Gove oversaw, and universal credit – and Brexit, even though it was in the teeth of the Tory party hierarchy itself, and mismanaged – nevertheless Brexit will be the great standing achievement of our time in office.

“These things are significant, but, overall I’m afraid, if we leave office next year, we would have left the country sadder, less united and less conservative than when we found it.”

Questioned on his comments, Kruger subsequently told The Guardian that: “This was a conversation among party members in which I made the case for realism and for honesty with the public.”

He added: “For decades, across the western world, centre-right parties have controlled the institutes of the state – yet nevertheless have presided over a drift away from their stated values and the interests of their voters.

“Conservatives worldwide have presided over models of mass migration, political correctness and economic short-termism. The British government is making some of the right moves to correct this. But the reaction under way in Europe at the moment is a warning to my party – either we remember the people we work for, or we face obliteration.”

Kruger is one of the backbench rebels urging the prime minister to strengthen his stance on the Rwanda deportation policy. 

Having abstained during the House of Commons second reading of the Safety of Rwanda Bill, he raised the prospect of hostile amendments to come during the bill’s committee stage.

In December, he suggested his party will never “get back into power” unless it makes a commitment to leaving the European Convention on Human Rights.

Speaking to the Inside Whitehall podcast — which is hosted by fellow Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis and former government adviser James Starkie, Kruger said: “I don’t think we will ever get back into power, if we go out of power. And frankly, I think we’re going to struggle at the next without this as well. 

“So I think the next election we win will be one in which we’re standing to leave the ECHR.”

Conservative MP says party won’t ‘get back into power’ unless it commits to leaving ECHR is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.