Greg Hands urges people to ‘protect women’s rights’ with their vote
Greg Hands says the UK is seen as ‘a reliable partner’
Voters were warned “don’t risk waking up” to a “lefty” town hall that erodes women’s rights in this week’s council elections.
Conservative party chairman Greg Hands said failing to vote on Thursday could land residents with expensive, but badly run Labour councils.
Backing the Daily Express crusade to protect women’s rights, he said left-wing local authorities are more likely to put protections like single-sex spaces at risk.
Mr Hands said: “I commend the Express for its campaign. I think single-sex spaces are really, really important.”
He said given how many public spaces are run by local authorities it is an issue for voters to consider.
“A lefty council is more likely to erode that sort of safe single space culture that I think is so important for women across the country. So I think it is an issue,” he added.
“And I think you can rely on Conservative councils to listen to people better deliver on their local people’s priorities rather than actually say some kind of politically correct ideology.”
Mr Hands said Conservative councils cost residents an average of £80 less for a band D property, fill as many potholes and Labour and Lib Dem-run town halls put together and residents are less likely to be a victim of crime.
He pointed out voters even get better Coronation bunting under the Tories than the “poundland” Labour efforts.
He urged people considering staying at home on polling day to think again.
“I would say to anybody thinking of sitting it out, ‘don’t’ because you could wake up with a badly run labour authority,” he said.
The Tory chairman represents a constituency that straddles a Conservative-run Kensington and Chelsea council and Labour-led Hammersmith and Fulham.
He said the “contrast between those two councils is huge”.
“The Conservative Council is delivering better services and the best schools in the country,” he said.
“The Labour Council has got the worst record in Britain for mould and damp in council flats.”
He added: “You can see it at the moment with the Coronation.
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“Chelsea is always laid out really nicely for big events like this, the Jubilee, the Coronation.
“Fulham has got what looked like sort of 50p from Poundland flags sellotaped to lampposts. It’s just that attention to detail from a well-run council.
“So I would say it’s not just about Coronation bunting, it illustrates a wider point that Conservative councils are better run and cost you less than Labour and Lib Dem council.
“Don’t risk waking up to a Labour Council. “
Academics predict the Conservatives are on course to lose 1,000 seats and say a good night for the party would be to limit that to 300.
Mr Hands refused to be drawn on what figures he is hoping for but said that the Tory grassroots out knocking on doors are a “little bit more upbeat” than the pollsters.
“But I wouldn’t be being truthful if I weren’t to say it’s a challenging environment out there,” he said.
“I don’t really I don’t have a target or an upside or what is a good night expectation.
He said: “Conservative councils deliver you more at less cost. And that is my key message ahead of these local elections.
“And anybody who is weighing up how to vote on Thursday … think really carefully about the delivery given to them by their Conservative Council or the poor delivery that’s given to them by the Labour or Lib Dem Council.”
Mr Hands says it has been striking while out campaigning how the main reaction people have to Sir Keir Starmer is that he “flip flops and changes his mind on issues”.
“And that is not something that people want to see in a prime minister,” he added.
He pointed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s track record of delivery, including securing a new Brexit agreement for Northern Ireland, joining the trans-pacific trade bloc and introducing tough new legislation to tackle the small boats crisis.
Mr Hands brandished a copy of the letter he “carries everywhere” written by Liam Byrne, who was chief secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown, that he left for his successor in the 2010 election saying “There’s no money left”.
He said it shows that Labour governments always leave the country in a “financial mess”.
Sir Keir is “fundamentally somebody that people can’t rely on”,” Mr Hands added.
“He’s had multiple positions,” he said. “And will say different things to different audiences to get him where he needs to be on that particular day. And that’s not a way to be Prime Minister.”
Mr Hands insisted there is “no reason” to believe an early general election is “imminent”.
He said: “It is my job to be ready whenever the Prime Minister decides to call that election.
“So there’s no reason in my view to have any speculation that the election is in any way imminent.
“But my job is to make sure that the party is ready for that day when it comes.”
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