There is complacency about our chances of victory, says Tory ex-minister Stephen Crabb

The parliamentary CFI chair says his party has a 'heavy duty' to win 'for the good of the Jewish community'



Former Tory Party cabinet minister Stephen Crabb has accepted there is “in some quarters a sense of complacency” about his party’s chances of victory in next month’s election.

Speaking to the JC, the parliamentary chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel group spoke of the “heavy duty” on his party to “actually win this election, for the good of the country but for the good of the Jewish community as well". 

Mr Crabb, a former work and pensions minister, added: “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration at all to say that many Jewish families up and down the country are horrified at the prospect of a Corbyn-led government."

Accepting that a similar message was put out before the 2017 election in which Theresa May secured only a narrow victory, Mr Crabb said: “There is in some quarters a sense of complacency.

“What we have got to do in this election is avoid the mistakes of 2017 and go out there and convert the opinion poll lead into an actual victory.

“The 2017 campaign was riddled with errors. It was very poorly executed campaign.

“We can not afford as a party, as a government to make those mistakes again." Mr Crabb, who now begins campaigning to retain his Preseli Pembrokeshire seat, said he believed current Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “a very different kind of  leader - no disrespect whatsoever to Theresa May”.

He added: "There is no better campaigner off the block than Boris Johnson.

“What we will see him doing over the next five weeks is zipping up and down the country, taking the Conservative case to parts of the country where maybe we didn’t think before it would be competitive.

“There is a sea change going on in the Midlands and north of England. But again, no complacency, we have to go out and win this." 

Asked about growing signs of support for Jo Swinson’ s Liberal Democrat Party among some in the community, he said only the current PM would be able to “bring the country back together” and heal the rift over Brexit.

“Nobody thought he was going to be the great compromiser, they thought he was going to be the Brexit hard man,” said Mr Crabb of his leader.

He added that the prospect of a hung Parliament at the election represented a great danger for the country.

Mr Crabb also said that the Brexit Party would take votes off Labour in many areas but could prove to be a “wrecking ball” in others.

“I don’t want to see an election pact with the Brexit Party,” he said.

Discussing his role with CFI, Mr Crabb said the current PM was “friend of Israel.”

He added: "I’ve got no qualms about Boris, I hosted a gathering of CFI during the leadership campaign. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He proved that when he was Foreign Secretary and as Mayor of London.”

But Mr Crabb added that “if we are having an honest interview: we remain vigilant about our Foreign Office, which in my view treads far too much a neutral line. There are times we want our Foreign Office to take a stronger line.”

Asked about his forthcoming constituency campaign, Mr Crabb said Brexit “comes up on the doorstep more than most issues”.

But he said healthcare and schools, even though devolved in Wales, still came up as a national issue.

Asked finally to predict the outcome of the election, Mr Crabb said: "I predict we will return here and Boris Johnson will have a majority of between 15 and 25 seats.”


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