Theresa May’s policy chief has said he is standing down from his role at No 10 to concentrate on grassroots reform of the Conservative party. George Freeman said an “ambitious” programme was needed to reconnect with younger voters after the Tories’ “ill-conceived” general election campaign.
Freeman called the manifesto shambolic and said it was the product of “the undemocratic concentration of power in the hands of a narrow inner circle”.
Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “When a manifesto is produced without having even being seen by ministers (or myself as chairman of the prime minister’s backbench policy board) it shows a fatal contempt for parliamentary opinion.”
Freeman has been an outspoken critic of the Conservatives’ strategic approach to grassroots members and younger voters in recent months and he hosted his own Big Tent festival dubbed the Tory Glastonbury as part of efforts to reconnect with those groups.
In the run-up to the election, he warned May that the Tories risked being seen as “a narrow party of nostalgia, hard Brexit, public sector austerity and lazy privilege”.