The great Conservative renewal is now underway

The great Conservative renewal is now underway, by James Forsyth.

The Tory party is in a deeply emotional state. … Post-referendum, Remain and Leave Tory MPs still meet in separate groups. Some think this indicates that the leadership fight could become the most divisive in recent history. …

In the coming days, Boris will come under pressure to set out his vision for post-Brexit Britain. I understand that he and Michael Gove have three principles. First, they want democratic control over immigration policy — a rejection of the EU principle of free movement of people. Second, they no longer want the UK to be subject to the European Court of Justice. Third, they want access to — but not membership of — the single market. …

Tory pragmatists, including several Remain ministers I’ve spoken to, acknowledge that [Boris Johnson] goes a long way to neutralising Ukip as a threat to the Tories. It would be perilous for them to select someone who had campaigned against Brexit as their leader because Farage and co could claim that referendum voters had been betrayed. They would shout that it was all an establishment stitch-up and that people needed to vote Ukip to make a proper Brexit happen. …

A staple of [Boris’] referendum stump speech was that the ‘EU is a corporate stitch-up’ contributing to the growing pay gap between CEOs and workers. As one of Boris’s closest allies puts it: ‘We need a government that understands this: in the last 15 years if you had capital you made out like a bandit. If you had to rely on your own labour, you didn’t.’ … Another pillar of a Johnson government would be social mobility. …

At the same time, the Labour party is in meltdown: it is almost impossible to see how the dispute between Jeremy Corbyn and the bulk of the parliamentary Labour party can be resolved.

hat-tip Stephen Neil