Boris Johnson to launch two-year election campaign in May | Boris Johnson
The Tory President announced that Boris Johnson would launch a two-year election campaign from May, in a speech that struck at ‘net zero dogma’ and sought to portray Labor as still linked to Jeremy Corbyn.
Oliver Dowden, co-chairman and former culture secretary, gave the speech at the Conservatives’ spring conference in Blackpool, as the party tries to draw a line under Johnson’s lockdown-breaking holiday issues.
After surviving calls for his resignation from Tory MPs, the Prime Minister now appears to be trying to show the party and the country that he intends to fight for the next election.
Dowden announced that the Tories would open the list of candidates for the next election and said: “The challenge starts in May.”
He said the election would look a lot more like 2015, when David Cameron battled Ed Miliband, than 2019, when Johnson faced Corbyn.
“We’re going to have to fight seat by seat, promise kept by promise kept, door by door,” he said. “And from May, we will begin our two-year election campaign with the launch of our target seats strategy, building on the experience of the 40:40 campaign in 2015, building capacity, raising the profile and framing the choice.”
In a sign that Tories are still concerned about the threat of Nigel Farage taking voters to the right, Dowden denounced ‘net zero dogma’ in comments that will dismay many concerned that Tories are willing to water down their commitments to tackle the climate emergency.
“I really think Britons want to see a bit of conservative pragmatism, not net zero dogma,” he said. “We are conservatives. We exist to conserve. We will arrive at net zero. Of course, we will save the planet. We just don’t want Vladimir Putin grabbing it while we do.
He also clarified how the Tories plan to portray Starmer in the upcoming election as “dull…uninspired…and bereft of ideas.” Dowden also sought to assert that “the Corbynistas are still here”, reviving the idea of labor as a hazard that was used during the 2019 campaign.
“Let’s not be complacent about the threat still posed by Starmer’s party,” he said. “Starmer can’t help but bow down to the Culture Cancellation Squad, because his base is the Culture Cancellation Squad.”
The Tories were widely thought to be planning an election for May 2024, but the impending repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act means it could more easily be called sooner.