Tory social gathering is ‘useless’ and must be ‘put out of distress’ says ex-MP

An ex-Tory MP has said the party is “dead” and should be “put out of its misery” as candidates jockey to replace Rishi Sunak as leader.

The former MP for Yeovil Marcus Fysh, who has resigned from the Conservatives after losing his seat at the General Election, said he would now “wind up” the party. He told Times Radio: “Everyone is wasting their time with it and I’m just calling it how I see it, really. If it was my business I’d wind it up.

“The sooner it’s put out of its misery the better, and that is what I think needs to happen. I would actually dissolve the corporate entity of the party and I would start again with a new brand, a new leader and a everything.”

The former Tory MP announced his resignation from the party on X over the weekend, saying: “It’s dead. No chance of ever being electable again with its current non-Conservative Parliamentary composition. Move on. Let’s do something else.”

But as the Conservatives descended into unseemly infighting, Sir Nicholas Soames branded him a “total idiot”. “Mate, you are a total weapon,” Mr Fysh hit back.

Former Tory MP Marcus Fysh has quit the party after losing his seat

Former Tory MP Marcus Fysh has quit the party after losing his seat

It came as two former Tory Ministers mulling bids to replace Mr Sunak as leader bizarrely claimed they didn’t want to talk about leadership. Appearing on the BBC’s prime time political slot in the wake of the Conservatives’ disastrous defeat, Robert Jenrick and Victoria Atkins refused to be drawn on their ambitions.

Ms Atkins – the former Health Secretary – did not rule out standing after the Tories lost 251 seats in the worst General Election result in modern history. But she said it was not yet time for the candidates to launch their campaigns, saying: “This weekend is not about leadership”.

She told BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “The absolute focus at the moment, and the reason I came on today, was genuinely not to talk about leadership because this is not the moment for this.

Former Minister's Victoria Atkins and Robert Jenrick refused to say whether they will run for Tory leader

Former Minister’s Victoria Atkins and Robert Jenrick refused to say whether they will run for Tory leader

“We need to show the public that we understand they have sent us some very, very loud messages, that we are listening, that we are reflecting and then we as a party need to get together and unite and work out what we want for the future.”

The ex-Conservative Home Office Minister Robert Jenrick also declined to say whether he would seek to replace Mr Sunak as leader of the opposition. He said: “I honestly don’t think that three days on from the General Election, in which we’ve just lost so many of our friends and colleagues, that it is right to have self-indulgent conversations like this.

“The reason I came on your programme Laura is because I care about the Conservative Party, I’ve been a member of the party since 1997 when I was 16 years of age, I’ve been with it through thick and thin. I want to ensure it has the right diagnosis of what’s gone wrong and that diagnosis is not about personalities, it’s about principles and ideas not individuals.”

Pressed further, Mr Jenrick refused to talk about his own leadership ambitions before saying: “The first step for the party is to have a proper honest diagnosis about what’s gone wrong.”

Asked if that means a long handover to the next Tory leader, Mr Jenrick replied: “I would support a longer campaign. I think we as a party have to think very carefully about what’s happened and once we have that, unite behind that common set of true Conservative principles and move forward – and above all hold Keir Starmer to account.”