The chairman of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party said the Tories may not win the next election in 2015, making him the most senior lawmaker to openly talk about the possibility of losing power.
In an interview with The House magazine, which is distributed to lawmakers, Grant Shapps, whose responsibilities include election planning, looked ahead to the party’s spring gathering on March 16. His remarks follow three weeks of questions about Cameron’s leadership, after the U.K.’s top credit rating was downgraded last month and the Tories were pushed into third place in a special election.
“I think the simple message for spring conference halfway through this Parliament is: We’ve started this job and we need to get it finished,” Shapps was cited as saying. “Not for our sakes. We may or may not win the next election, but my God we need to finish this, the job of stopping this country going bust, fixing the mess that Labour left, or at least as far as we can.”
Following Cabinet revolts over government spending plans and alcohol pricing, Cameron said in a broadcast that aired last night that the Tory party and voters need to concentrate on the longer-term goal of restoring economic growth. He also dismissed stories on leadership speculation as “rubbish.”