Voters can drop Tories if Levelling Up promises are broken, Tory MP declares

2 February 2022, 17:33 | Updated: 2 February 2022, 17:40

By Seán Hickey

This Conservative MP tells LBC that voters who loaned their vote to her party in 2019 are right to vote against them if the Levelling Up agenda is undelivered.

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Secretary of State for Housing and Levelling Up Michael Gove published the government's Levelling Up white paper which made several commitments to previously neglected parts of the country. The ambition in the agenda raised concerns over whether government can deliver on any of the promises before the next election.

Read more: Levelling up: Michael Gove sets out plan to end illiteracy by 2030

"Are [voters] right to expect tangible, visible improvement to their area and to their lives before the next election?" Eddie Mair asked Conservative MP Miriam Cates, who is part of the "2019 intake" of Tory MPs. "Yes", she declared.

"We've got to have an ambitious long-term strategy. We're not going to reverse some of these equalities overnight, but of course voters can see and have evidence of change."

She pointed out that "government sets out the metrics" within the white paper to gauge the success of Levelling Up which will be cited by the next election.

Eddie accepted that metrics and statistics can be used to determine the success of the programme, but "if voters don't feel it", he wondered if they're within their right to drop their support for the Conservatives.

Read more: James O'Brien: Imagine a market that treats standards in the same way the PM does

"Of course that's true" Ms Cates reiterated, going on to state that "some of the metrics around productivity and wage growth are figures, but they also will be felt."

The Tory MP noted that improvements in wages, in education, and improvements in public transport in previously neglected parts of the country will be tangible impacts of the Levelling Up agenda by the next election. She went on to add that she is "confident" government can deliver "at least some of that" before the next election.

"If people don't see and feel an improvement in the parts of England which already feel left out by the next election, they'll be entitled to say 'you've let me down, you don't get my vote again'?" Eddie pushed.

Miriam Cates concluded by answering: "Of course, that's democracy."

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