Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

‘Insanity’ to hold another leadership contest, says Tory Party chairman

Richard Holden said ‘divided parties did not win elections’ (Liam McBurney/PA)
Richard Holden said ‘divided parties did not win elections’ (Liam McBurney/PA)

Holding another leadership contest to change prime minister would be “insanity”, the Conservative Party chairman has said amid tensions over Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan and with critics jostling for position.

Richard Holden echoed Mr Sunak’s calls for unity, and suggested it was the “biggest challenge” his party was facing when looking to secure another election victory.

Speaking to reporters at a press gallery lunch in Parliament, and asked if he could rule out another leadership contest before the next election, Mr Holden said: “I think it would be insanity to do that.”

Questions remain over the extent to which Mr Sunak can rely on the support of his backbenchers when it comes to getting the latest efforts to send asylum seekers to Rwanda through the Commons next week.

Public criticism from former home secretary Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick, who resigned from his role as immigration minister on Wednesday, have seen Tory divisions over the issue spill out into the open and led to speculation over whether some in the party would like to see a change in leadership.

Mr Sunak reportedly told Conservative backbenchers at the 1922 Committee shortly before Mr Jenrick quit that they must “unite or die” – and Mr Holden echoed the need for unity.

Mr Holden said on Thursday: “The only way to victory is if we get out there and fight for it, fight for people’s votes and show them we’re on their side. I think if we’re introspective – we all know that divided parties don’t win elections.”

He said his party needed to be “fighting the opposition rather than ourselves” and argued that his colleagues had ample reason to focus criticism on the Labour Party over various issues.

Suella Braverman
Public criticism from former home secretary Suella Braverman over Mr Sunak’s Rwanda plan has seen Tory divisions over the issue spill out into the open (Justin Tallis/PA)

“Yet some of my colleagues seem to be more interested in talking about ourselves when we’re actually putting forward some of the strongest polling policies we could possibly be doing,” he said.

“I don’t want to see us in opposition”, he said, adding that he believed his party had a “good story to tell”.

The latest possible date for the next general election to be held is January 28 2025, but many commentators expect it sometime in 2024.

Mr Holden told reporters he did not know when the election would be, but asked when the earliest CCHQ would be ready to fight one, he said “February”.

He conceded his party is facing an “uphill battle” going into the next general election, but said he was confident his party could win.

Asked about the biggest challenge his party faces, he said: “The biggest challenge we face is the fact that… it’s actually a challenge for all of my colleagues really… it’s to decide whether they’re interested in being in government and continuing to make those massive changes that we’ve made over the last few decades… or whether they would prefer to sit in opposition.”

He said “any sensible Conservative MP” should “reflect on where we are”, warning against putting Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in power.

And he said he was working hard in his role for Tory colleagues, adding: “I hope that they understand that actually the enemy is not within, the enemy is out there.”