Chair of the Conservative think tank, the Bow Group, Ben Harris-Quinney explained to Express.co.uk the now popular local investments made by the Conservative government will only get them so far as coronavirus is set to cause economic turmoil for the country. Ben Harris-Quinney added the conservative ideology promotes “fiscal responsibility” and while the Tories enjoy a huge lead both in the House of Commons and in the polls, he says a “reckoning” will happen once the country moves out of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as some polls put the Conservatives ten points ahead of Labour with former Labour strongholds being lost to the Tories.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Harris-Quinney was asked how the Conservative Party was carrying out Labour’s traditional selling point of local investments and what place Labour has in the political landscape.
But the think tank chief was sceptical the moves from the Conservatives would be a successful long-term play considering the economic fallout from COVID-19.
He explained: “It’s very easy to spend money and, in the short term, tends to make you popular with the public.
“Because the things that you’re doing like investment in communities tend to be very popular in those communities.
“The problem is that whilst the Conservatives came in in 2010 promising to deal with the national debt, what has happened since is that the national debt has almost tripled.
“We have a debt to GDP ratio now of over 100 percent which is roughly where Greece was going into the 2008 economic crisis.”
The UK’s national debt sits at around £2.2trillion – falling below the Office of Budget Responsibility forecasts.
But there are fears inflation could spike as the economy attempts to rebound.
Mr Harris-Quinney continued: “And I think we are headed into another economic crisis that is fostered by the coronavirus.
“And when that happens, I think the popularity of the Conservative Party will decline very significantly.
“One of the key tenets of conservatism is fiscal responsibility.
“Margaret Thatcher famously said that if you wouldn’t run your household budget like that – with massive debt and spending far more than you’re taking in – you can’t run a country like that.
“And whilst you know I have a background in economics, things are very complicated when it comes to calculating the national economy and in the context of the global economy.
“There are also some simple truths and one of those simple truths is you can’t just spend, spend, spend, and print money with no consequences.
“So the fallout from coronavirus and the fallout from very heavy government spending will come.
“And I think at that point, there will be a reckoning to the Conservative Party’s poll rating.”
Columnist and Labour activist Owen Jones explained he and other Labour supporters believe the Conservatives are acting cleverly by investing in former Labour constituencies to earn their favour.
The surge in Conservative support has made some left-leaning MPs to propose a “progressive alliance” of Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party to team up in the next general election.
But the move has split opinions, with Lib Dem leader Ed Davey stating his party does not need the help of Labour following their Amersham by-election win.
The next by-election is being held in Batley and Spen, the former constituency of murdered politician Jo Cox.
Some Labour supporters and pundits have called for leader Sir Keir Starmer to step down if he loses another by-election.
Mr Harris-Quinney told Express.co.uk he could see no one in the current Labour parliamentary group which could be a viable replacemnent of Sir Keir.