Former Prime Minister attacks state of UK politics at UofG speech

Published

John Major

Credit: The Spectator

Georgina Hayes
Editor

Former Prime Minister John Major delivered a speech at the University of Glasgow on February 19 where he attacked Brexit and its enablers, as well as both the Labour and Conservative parties.

“Facts were dismissed as ‘Project Fear’. Fiction was treated as fact. Assertion was presented as cast-iron proof. As a result, the public was left baffled and bemused: lost between truth and falsehood.”

Speaking at the University’s John Smith Centre for Public Service, ex-Tory leader Sir John lambasted the state of his own party, describing it as being influenced by “extremists”: “Currently, both the Conservative and Labour parties are being manipulated by fringe opinion. The rationale for extremists joining mainstream parties is logical: from within them, they can influence policy; from without, they very rarely can.”

He continued: “The Conservative Party membership appears to be ‘hollowing out’ traditional Conservatives, while former UKIP members strengthen the anti-European Right of the Party.”

The former PM then attacked what he believes is a similar level of extremism within the Labour Party: “It has enjoyed a vast growth in membership that has captured many constituency organisations; their National Conference; important Party positions; and has left control of policy at the mercy of a passionate, active, far-left base rather than the centre-Left.

“Yesterday, seven moderate MPs left the Labour Party. I admire their courage and their conviction. But I hope they have not cut themselves adrift forever. Labour needs moderate MPs, and the country needs a moderate Labour Party.”

He also blamed social media, 24-hour news and the rise of populism for the current “unhappy state of affairs” in UK politics.