Local elections: Scottish MP Andrew Bowie suggests public can still be won over despite Tories' bruising results

Andrew Bowie has admitted his Tory party “has a job to do” to turn around its fortunes

A Scottish Tory MP has questioned whether the Conservatives’ catastrophic local election results in England shows the public have had enough of his party.

Andrew Bowie, the Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has admitted his party “has a job to do” to turn around its fortunes with the public before the Westminster general election later this year.

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Mr Bowie, who is an energy minister in Rishi Sunak’s government, was asked when he expected the Prime Minister to call the general election.

West Aberdeenshire MP Andrew Bowie (Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)West Aberdeenshire MP Andrew Bowie (Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)
West Aberdeenshire MP Andrew Bowie (Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m focused on listening to what the people are saying in the country and that, quite frankly, is that they’ve had enough of the game-playing and the Westminster merry-go-round,” Mr Bowie told the BBC’s Sunday Show. “They want the government to get on and focus on their priorities.”

The Conservatives lost control of ten English local authorities and more than 470 council seats after Thursday’s dire performance in elections south of the Border. Asked whether the terrible results showed the public has “had enough” of the Conservatives, Mr Bowie appeared to question that conclusion, saying: “I don’t know.”

He added: “Make no bones about it, Thursday was a very difficult day for the Conservative party. I was very disappointed to see Andy Street, for example, who’s been a fantastic mayor in the West Midlands, lose his position championing Birmingham and the surrounding area.

“The fact is, it’s now up to us to listen to what the people are saying, to start getting down to work, to stop focusing on the game-playing.”

Mr Bowie stressed the party needed to focus on “doing what the Prime Minister is saying”, which he said was “sticking to the plan, growing the economy, halving inflation, cutting debt, dealing with the boats and ensuring that our NHS is fit for the future”.

“That’s what this government is focused on and people will reward us for it when the election comes, whenever that is,” Mr Bowie said.

The Tory MP insisted “the mood within the party is one of determination, one of focus”. He said Mr Sunak “realises that we have a job to do to convince the British public to award us with a fifth historic term”, but insisted “he’s got my full support and confidence”.

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But former Tory home secretary Suella Braverman has suggested Mr Sunak’s plan is not working.

Ms Braverman told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “The plan is not working and I despair at these terrible results. There is no spinning these results, there is no disguising the fact that these have been terrible election results for the Conservatives and they suggest that we are heading to a Labour government and that fills me with horror.”

She added: “I am urging the Prime Minister to change course, to with humility reflect on what voters are telling us, and change the plan and the way that he is communicating and leading us.”

Asked about whether she wanted to see a change in leader, Ms Braverman said: “I just don’t think that is a feasible prospect right now, we don’t have enough time and it is impossible for anyone new to come and change our fortunes to be honest.”



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