(UK) Conservatives still party of the rich, says No 10's top thinktank
Source: The Guardian
David Cameron has failed to end the Tories' image as the party of the rich and is paying the price as Conservatives struggle to extend their appeal to urban areas in the north of England, according to the head of Downing Street's favourite thinktank.
In a searing critique of the prime minister's faltering modernisation project, the director of Policy Exchange, Neil O'Brien, calls for an urgent round of renewal in the light of Cameron's failure to heal the "party's worst wounds".
Writing for the Guardian on the eve of the Conservative conference in Birmingham, O'Brien says: "Today the Tories urgently need a new round of renewal. Tory modernisation has not yet healed the party's worst wounds. It is still seen as the party of the rich. It does badly in urban areas, particularly outside the south-east."
The intervention by O'Brien, whose thinktank has been an intellectual powerhouse for the so called "Cameroons", reflects the concerns among many modernisers that the project has stalled. The modernisation project was designed to detoxify the image of the Tories, who were famously described by Theresa May as the "nasty party", to show that they reflected modern, diverse Britain. Cameron famously broke with the past, and highlighted his green credentials, by posing with huskies on a visit to Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic in 2006.