"The doorsteps won’t be fun.”
The situation is so dire for the Conservative Party, that it’s now struggling to recruit enough candidates for the May local elections, including in the ‘Tory shires’, with party activists worried they face a hammering.
The Tory brand is so damaged, according to party members, that it’s proving a challenge to get even ‘paper candidates’ with people ‘just not coming forward’, the I reports.
It comes as the Tories trail Labour by 21 points in the polls and Rishi Sunak struggles to govern his disunited party, which continues to deal with scandals, sleaze and allegations of corruption.
One ex-Cabinet minister said recruitment was proving so difficult that “we could go into the biggest local elections since 2019 not even fielding a full slate of candidates”.
A source from Kent told the ipaper: “They’re just asking former or retired councillors to fill the slots. It’s not very appealing to stand in an election where it’s going to be loads of losses.
“And the doorsteps won’t be fun.”
It comes as a Sunday Mirror poll revealed that nearly half of those who voted Tory in 2019 now want a General Election this year which would sweep Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives from power.
The Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey also shows that four in ten voters would prefer to see Keir Starmer as PM with fewer than a third opting for Mr Sunak.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward