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A hearty welcome for Renewal, the new campaign group designed to extend the Tories’ electoral appeal

By Peter Hoskin
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Actually, there’s another word of the day – and that word is “group”. David Skelton’s campaign group Renewal, designed to extend the Tories’ appeal into areas like the North, properly launches this evening. The Forty Group, composed of Tory MPs in marginal seats, is publishing a list of policies designed to attract those voters floating in the centre of the political spectrum. And then a cross-party group called British Influence, as chaired by Ken Clarke, Peter Mandelson and Danny Alexander, is saying some stuff about Europe.

Of these various group interventions, perhaps the most eye-catching is the first. ConservativeHome readers will already be familiar with David Skelton’s campaign, not least because he wrote about it for us at its conception in April, and we also, last week, published four extracts – one, two, three, four – from a collection that it is releasing today. But familiarity oughtn’t breed anything other than cordiality, in this case. Renewal is doing important work, and all signs are that it will do it well.

I suppose one question is whether the Tory leadership will take up Renewal’s ideas. Looking at the policies that the group is advocating today, I’m sure Cameron & Co. will be struck by the proposal for allowing trade union members to donate their political levy to whichever party they choose. But as for raising the minimum wage, that could fall against worries that an ever-rising minimum wage will dissuade employers from taking on new staff. The trend within Government has been more towards a frozen, or even reduced, minimum wage.

But let’s leave all that aside for now, and simply welcome Renewal to the Westminster landscape – and beyond. Good luck, David.


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