Tory MP calls for 'radical change of strategy' after byelection drubbing

MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Waveney MP Peter Aldous has called for a "radical change of strategy" from the government in the wake of the Conservatives' crushing by-election defeat in a previously ultra safe Tory seat.

He is one of several MPs to voice concerns over their party's direction after the Liberal Democrats overturned a Tory majority in North Shropshire of almost 23,000 at the last general election to win by 5,925 votes.

Mr Aldous said: "What the government has got to do, now that we are in a Christmas recess period, is that it needs to reflect on what has happened. There needs to be a radical change of strategy and way of thinking."

It is not the first time Mr Aldous has been outspoken on the direction the party is taking. Twice in recent weeks he has gone against the government line in crunch Westminster votes.

Last month he was one of just 19 Tory MPs to rebel against the government in a vote on social care reforms.

He also refused to take part in the controversial standards vote involving former minister Owen Paterson last month.

Mr Paterson resigned after he was found to have breached parliamentary rules on lobbying, triggering this week's byelection.

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Speaking after the result, Mr Aldous said: "Over the last 20 months, the government could be doing considerably better."

Highlighting the controversial standards reform to protect former North Shropshire MP Mr Paterson, Mr Aldous said: "The standards situation with Mr Paterson was very ill thought through.

"It was something I abstained against.

"I couldn't support the proposals on the social care reforms, and then in recent weeks we have had all these parties that happened last year.

"When you put all these points together from the last year to 20 months, seeing what people have gone through and the enormous sacrifices they have made, it is understandable that people are looking on thinking there is one rule for us and one rule for them - that's not right.

"We are asking people to make enormous sacrifices, so we have got to behave in a responsible way."

He added: "So, when you put these all together, this (North Shropshire vote) is what happens.

"What the government has got to do, now that we are in a Christmas recess period, is that it needs to reflect on what has happened.

"There needs to be a radical change of strategy and way of thinking."

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