David Cameron should ditch high speed rail and not be “side-tracked” by issues such as gay marriage if he wants a majority in 2015, West Midland Tories said today.
As Tories reeled from finishing behind UKIP in the Eastleigh by-election and took flak for the controversial bedroom tax, MPs and council leaders urged the Prime Minister to drop the £32bn HS2 rail scheme that will cut through Staffordshire.
Michael Fabricant, Lichfield MP and vice-chairman of the Tory party, said: “I supported gay marriage but with hindsight there was no great demand for it.
“It would have been better had we done this in our first year of office.
“As far as the next election is concerned, I know that locally the cancellation of HS2 would be a big plus.”
He said Mr Cameron needs to emphasise work Tories have done to stop immigrants claiming benefits and to tackle the deficit.
Councillor Philip Atkins, Tory leader of Staffordshire County Council, faces May polls. Tories ended 28 years of Labour control in 2009 as they won most seats and cut Labour to three councillors.
Councillor Atkins said: “There’s still a lot to be said about the legacy of the last government. It’s not about how much we spend, it’s about how we spend..”
Dudley South MP Chris Kelly said they needed distance between them and Liberal Democrats. He said: “I want to see our manifesto published early so that people can see what the Conservatives would do if we were not in a coalition.”
Wolverhampton South West MP Paul Uppal, has urged the party to broaden its appeal to minority ethnic communities and “represent the face of modern Britain”.
South Staffordshire Tory MP Gavin Williamson backs HS2 but said many people felt the gay marriage vote was a “distraction” from “bigger issues” of the economy.
He said: “We have to hammer home what we’re doing on immigration.”