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We are going to lose election and bringing back Boris Johnson wouldn’t help, says Kent Conservative party chairman

The Conservatives are on course for defeat at the General Election, according to the chairman of the party’s constituency associations in Kent.

Sarah Hudson says the Tories do not have enough time to turn their fortunes around before voters go to the poll – which is expected to be in the autumn.

Sarah Hudson, chairman of Kent Area Conservatives
Sarah Hudson, chairman of Kent Area Conservatives

The county councillor for Malling says she is not being defeatist but realistic about the party’s prospects.

The chairman of Kent Area Conservatives said: “We are not going to win the election, but saying that, we have still got a lot of support out there. Whether that support will bother voting is the problem.

“Conservatives do not want Keir Starmer in power but that unfortunately is where it is going to end up.”

Her comments come as the latest opinion polls suggest the gap between the two main parties is not moving.

Cllr Hudson says an improving economy – with cuts in interest rates likely and inflation falling – meant that the longer the date of an election could be left, the better.

Labour leader Keir Starmer
Labour leader Keir Starmer

“The longer you leave it, the more impact these things will have on people in their everyday life,” she said.

Cllr Hudson says the Covid pandemic has been a big factor because of the huge sums involved in keeping peoples’ jobs open through furlough.

If it had not “come on the scene” and required enormous amounts of money spent helping people keep safe, the political outlook may have been different, she argues.

“These things are cyclical. I remember waking up in 1992 not expecting to hear that John Major had won,” Cllr Hudson said.

As to whether local party activists were still keen on Boris Johnson returning at some point, she said most thought he has had his opportunity.

Former Tory leader Boris Johnson
Former Tory leader Boris Johnson

“His time has been and gone now. Coming back is not going to help the situation,” Cllr Hudon said.

She dismissed the influence of the Reform party, saying that if it had broken through, then it would have happened before now.

“They are a protest group, just like the Green party,” she added.

Kent returned 16 Conservative MPs at the 2019 general election, with 60% share of the vote - up 3.6% on 2017. Labour, then led by Jeremy Corbyn, saw a 6.6% drop to 25% and returned just one MP, Rosie Duffield in Canterbury.

It is hoping to capture seats it last held in 1997 when, under Tony Blair, the party won by a landslide and uprooted eight of the county’s sitting Conservative MPs.

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