Nick Timothy Theresa May’s former right hand man has revealed for the first time what went wrong in the general election campaign and what he believes the Conservatives must do to avoid defeat in five years time.
Nick Timothy, who resigned as the Prime Minister’s joint chief of staff in June, told The Daily Telegraph that the Tories lost their majority at the election because they abandoned Mrs May’s promise of change in favour of a continuity message.
He also admitted Downing Street was guilty of a breakdown in communications both with the public and with other Whitehall departments, leaving key policies vulnerable to attack.
In his first interview since leaving Number 10, the man dubbed Theresa May’s brain said she must find new ways to reform social care and forge ahead with intervention in unfair energy markets if she wants to hold off the challenge of Jeremy Corbyn.
French president had called for Britain to consider its ‘moral duty’ and take its fair share of the 1,500 asylum-seeking children left in Calais He said: If the party retreats into a comfort zone that we don’t find very challenging, I worry that we will not only fail to address the challenges the country faces but we will also increase the chances of a hard left government in five years’ time.
Using state intervention to fix “dysfunctional” markets – as the Tories had proposed to do with an energy tariff cap before dropping it from the Queen’s Speech – is one way in which they could win back voters, he said.
Mr Timothy, who co-wrote the Conservative manifesto that was blamed for Mrs May’s election woes, revealed that he is still in touch with the Prime Minister, but insists he is no longer advising her on policy.
He also claimed Mrs May had been a victim of sexism because some people in Westminster refused to give her credit for coming up with her own policies, preferring instead to believe that male advisers like him were behind them.
Mr Timothy, who begins a weekly column for the Telegraph on Thursday, also disclosed that:
• Reports that Theresa May was intending to sack Philip Hammond if she increased her majority are wide of the mark
• Mrs May is still prepared to walk away from Brexit talks without a deal
• Mrs May’s hopes of reversing the ban on new grammar schools are over
• The Conservatives’ election strategists overruled plans for ministers to play a bigger part in the election campaign
After working for Mrs May for eight years at the Home Office and in Number 10, Mr Timothy knows the Prime Minister better than any other political aide. Together with co-chief of staff Fiona Hill they were seen as the three people who ran the country until both Mr Timothy and Ms Hill resigned the day after the general election.
Mr Timothy insists that reforming the funding of social care, dubbed the dementia tax by Labour, was a strong policy and the right policy.
But he said that Mrs May, who called the election after less than a year in Downing Street, had been unable to road-test policies and win the debate over them before unveiling them in the manifesto.
Mrs May has dropped her manifesto pledge to reform social care, but Mr Timothy urged her to make a virtue out of necessity by setting up a Royal Commission to reach cross-party agreement on the long-term solution to both the social care crisis and how to fund the NHS.
He said that parliamentary arithmetic now meant that Mrs May’s plan to reverse the legal ban on grammar schools was impossible.
On Brexit, Mr Timothy said: The country can trust her to get the job done. The fundamental things that the country voted for, that we will leave the EU, control immigration, that the Court of Justice should have no jurisdiction in this country, that we should stop paying membership fees, I’m confident that those things will end.
Nick Timothy’s first weekly column for The Telegraph will appear on Thursday, August 10.