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Ex MP Paul Bristow says Tories must win back young people who voted Reform

‘I’m proud to have secured £125 million for the city’

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Former Peterborough MP Paul Bristow believes the Conservatives can only recover if they can capture the votes of young people outside of London who “in their hundreds of thousands voted Reform”. Reflecting on losing the seat he held for four and a half years, Mr Bristow took to X to reflect on defeat, and offered a glimpse of his thinking about the way forward.

“Labour won the election with 34 per cent of the vote,” he wrote.

“In Peterborough their vote went down by 10 per cent. We now have a very socially liberal MP in a very ‘small c’ conservative city.

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“This is because we stopped listening to a sizeable part of this coalition. On top of this was the personal ambition of ‘the smartest people in the room’ and then nervous colleagues who paid too much attention to twitter and ‘concerned’ emails from the ‘worried well’

“We have to focus on rebuilding this coalition- and then adding to it with social conservative voting groups such as British Muslims.

Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris

Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris

“We need to appeal to young people who (outside London) in their hundreds of thousands voted Reform. This is an underreported fact.

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Only through an understanding of the outgoing electoral/social realignment in England can the ‘centre right’ return anytime soon.”

He added: “We cannot rush this; MPs should build a functioning opposition. Then the party can discuss who is best to help rebuild this electoral coalition.”

Boris Johnson visits Peterborough in May 2019 to support then parliamentary candidate Paul Bristow. Boris was ‘mobbed in Bretton Centre’ and ‘Facebook groups came alive with reports of Boris on Werrington streets’. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Boris Johnson visits Peterborough in May 2019 to support then parliamentary candidate Paul Bristow. Boris was ‘mobbed in Bretton Centre’ and ‘Facebook groups came alive with reports of Boris on Werrington streets’. PHOTO: Terry Harris

On his Facebook page he congratulated Andrew Pakes who he said “now has the best job in politics – MP for Peterborough.

“A close result, losing by just 118 votes. I’m proud to have secured £125 million for the city.

“Locally – this was my loss. To my supporters – I am sorry it wasn’t quite enough.”

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