James Forsyth

Talking about Brexit won’t be enough for the next Tory leader

Talking about Brexit won't be enough for the next Tory leader
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The Tory leadership contest has been dominated by Brexit so far. To a large extent, this is inevitable: Brexit is the biggest issue facing the country and the Tory party.

But dealing with Brexit is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a Tory recovery. If the Tories are to win a fourth term in office, they are going to have a compelling domestic agenda as well. So far, the ideas put forward in this contest haven’t been particularly imaginative—doubling defence spending and a penny off the basic rate are standard Tory fare.

The biggest question, to my mind, for the Tories is how to revive the ownership society. The Tories cannot expect people who don’t have any hope of obtaining capital, to be capitalists. The leadership candidates need to show how they are going to help more people own their home and how they are going to spread share ownership.

Failing to deliver Brexit would be existential for the Tories. But if the Tories are going to become a party that wins comfortable majorities again, then they are going to have to reinvigorate the property-owning democracy.