Published: 15:04, 14 June 2017
The Conservative election campaign was blighted by a series of mistakes that cost it vital support among key voters, a Sevenoaks councillor who stood in a target seat in the Midlands claims.
Michelle Lowe, was the party’s candidate for Coventry South, and is the cabinet member for housing on Sevenoaks.
She cited the Prime Minister’s refusal to appear on TV debates and her support for fox hunting as just two reasons the party under-performed.
In an article for the Conservative Home website, she wrote: “The first nail in in our coffin was Theresa May coming out in favour of fox hunting.
"The biggest topic of conversation by far amongst these Labour-background urban voters was fox hunting - often preceded with the comment: “We never thought she would be in favour of fox hunting.”
She said the PM was wrong not to appear in the televised debates.
“May not participating in televised debates also hurt us. People asked how she could negotiate a Brexit deal if she could not debate her opponents.
"The person that voters thought May was turned out not to be the person she actually is, at least in their view.
"People no longer liked her. By contrast, Corbyn seemed relaxed. and sold a vision of helping people just like them.”
She said the timing of the manifesto “could scarcely have been worse” coming only days before postal votes dropped on door mats.
“Older people protested against May’s social policy confident that Corbyn couldn’t win, or feeling betrayed by a leader who they previously felt was on their side.”
Her remarks echo criticisms made by other Kent Conservatives.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey candidate Gordon Henderson said he had spent two weeks “battling to try to negate the impact of the manifesto” on core supporters.
He said the first that candidates saw of the manifesto was when it was presented to them.
“The biggest mistake was not involving at least a handful of backbenchers.”
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