Rishi Sunak must give the speech of his life at Tory conference or face oblivion

Conservative conference kicks off this week with the Prime Minister needing a miracle.

His party polling is catastrophic, his personal polling is even worse, and despite a surprise result in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, voters have ousted Tories at every opportunity a by-election has given them.

Tory MPs are miserable, no longer believing their party can maintain itself in Government, to the extent more than 40 of them are standing down at the next election. This represents the biggest exodus from a ruling party since 100 Labour MPs quit at the 2010 election, with the party not having been in power since. I believe this is called foreshadowing.Those who aren’t stepping down face being booted out, with modelling by Stonehaven Global on Friday showing Sir Keir Starmer's party on track to win a majority of 90. This would see a host of big names lose their seats, including the chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the justice secretary Alex Chalk, Tory party chairman Greg Hands, and the chief whip Simon Hart. Not so much a big beast decapitation as a total bloodbath.So now supporters, members, and fewer lobbyists than when the party was considered to have a future will arrive at conference hoping to hear a vision, an idea of Britain which can curtail Labour’s overwhelming lead, and make people believe that Mr Sunak has a future as Prime Minister.

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The problem is, he has none. There are no Boris Johnson big ideas without delivery, there are no fundamental (albeit disastrous) principles guiding his politics like Liz Truss, there is simply the fading smile of a man who got to have a go but seems to have had no idea what to do with it.What has been announced or rumoured so far all seem to be about boosting motorists, with the Prime Minister taking the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election and deciding those were the only voters worth listening to.Abandoned or delayed are measures to save the planet, in are measures that can save people one to two minutes getting to Sainsbury’s.Fresh from announcing a ban on a range of policies nobody ever suggested, Mr Sunak will also veer into conspiracy theory territory by condemning “15-minute cities” with multiple centres, if briefings are to be believed, because in this week of all weeks, the viewers of GB News have been deemed the target audience.

What is lacking in Sunakism, if there is such a thing, is any sense of the big picture, his ideas veering around like a Prime Minister filmed not wearing a seatbelt. On infrastructure, he is unable to answer if the £71 billion project of HS2 will reach Manchester, using interviews on that very subject to discuss pot holes.

Even tax, where Tory policy writes itself, has been defined by being the highest on record. Mr Sunak says he hates this, but is in no position to change it.

Such is his lack of defining mission that his ministers even feel comfortable to go off piste, with the Home Secretary Suella Braverman, best known for breaching the ministerial code, not-so-subtly positioning herself for the leadership by condemning multiculturalism.There have been no ideas. There has been no discipline. There has been no belief. Mr Sunak has to deliver the speech of his life on Wednesday, or there will be no Tory Government.



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