The boss of Iceland has quit the ‘out of touch’ Conservative Party which has left the UK in a ‘considerably worse state’ than 13 years ago.
Richard Walker, one of the party’s leading business allies whose father Malcolm founded the frozen food supermarket, once hoped to become a Tory MP.
But as the ruling party continue to tumble down the polls, he said Rishi Sunak’s government has ‘drifted out of touch’ during the cost of living crisis.
The prime minister, Walker, 43, said in an article for The Guardian, has ‘no real interest in green issues’ after he weakened key climate targets to the fury of even his own MPs.
As much as he ‘remained open’ over which party he’ll cast his vote for ahead of next year’s general election, he said: ‘That is all for another day.
‘For the moment, there’s one party card that’s in the shredder, and it’s blue.’
Since the 2019 election which saw Boris Johnson get the keys to Downing Street, ‘it has become increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Conservative party has drifted badly out of touch with business and the economy, and with the everyday needs of the British people’.
‘Indeed, many lifelong Tories I know now find it hard to disagree that the country is in a considerably worse state than it was when their party returned to power 13 years ago,’ Walker added.
For the businessman, the party has failed to deliver on a raft of projects such as the northern leg of the high-speed rail project HS2.
The pain of the Tory government’s policy-making is being felt in the ‘sluggish’ economy, Walker said.
GDP growth has been around 0.2% during the first half of this year. Inflation, meanwhile, has remained stubbornly high for months.
‘Today’s reality is that we have a nominally Conservative government, yet I struggle to name a single thing they are actually conserving,’ Walker added.
‘Certainly not the business sector or our economy, the vitality of our high streets or the safety of my retail colleagues, our farming and rural communities, our rivers and seas, our net zero obligations, our NHS, our schools, our reputation for decency and fairness, or the future prosperity of our kids and grandkids.’
In another interview with The Times, Walker said Sunak’s gamble to win over voters by dialling down green policies was the latest example of the government ‘flip-flopping’ on big policies.
Sunak’s call to, among other things, push back a ban on petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 to 2035, sparked fury from business leaders, environmentalists and even his predecessor Johnson.
Consistent polling shows there is sweeping support for climate action.
Walker rejected rumours he is set to join Keir Starmer’s Labour party, which has for months held a double-digit lead over the Tories.
The Iceland chief’s broadside comes just days after Tory peer, party donor and Carpetright founder Lord Harris of Peckham said the Conservatives don’t ‘deserve’ to win the election.
‘Does a party like the Conservatives, with what they have done in the last three years, deserve to get back [in power]? I don’t think so,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
‘You can’t think of many good things that the Conservatives have done and stuck to.’
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