Senior Tories urge colleagues to back People’s Vote to ‘rebuild support with younger voters’

Lord Heseltine departs after a visit to 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Lord Heseltine departs after a visit to 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Senior Conservatives - including Lord Heseltine, Dominic Grieve and David Willetts - have written to their party colleagues warning they risk 'losing young people for good.'

The letter, co-ordinated by the two youth groups of the People's Vote campaign - For our Future's Sake (FFS) and Our Future, Our Choice - is a sign of growing pressure within Conservative ranks to support a second referendum.

It claims: 'As a party, our support from the young is already at crisis levels. Last year's British Election Study found that 62% of 18-25 year olds surveyed voted Labour compared with just 18% Conservative. This is our party's lowest support on record amongst the young.

'If we are to remain a party of government, it is absolutely critical that we increase our support among younger generations.'

It continues: 'Of those in this group who are certain to vote, an astounding 87% support the United Kingdom staying in the European Union. If we do not hear their voices, who could blame them for feeling excluded and powerless on this most vital issue.'

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'The truth is that if Brexit fails this generation, we risk losing young people for good. Our party's electoral future will be irrevocably blighted.'

'The news came as Theresa May prepared to deliver a speech in the House of Commons trying to convince colleagues not to back such a measure.'

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Signatories also include Guto Bebb MP, Ros Altmann, Phillip Lee and Neil Carmichael.

Lucy Woodcock from the FFS campaign said: 'It's absolutely clear that young people and students are leading the charge for a People's Vote - and that we know the best deal we can get is the one we already have in place.

'This is an incredibly important intevention from senior Conservatives, warning their colleagues that if they force through a botched Brexit - they risk losing the support of the young for good.'

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