FORMER home secretary Priti Patel has told the Prime Minister he must offer more “hope and optimism” for the Conservative Party or risk presiding over “managed decline” of the party following damaging local election results in England.

Patel launched a veiled swipe at Sunak and other senior Tories following the loss of more than 1000 councillors at last week’s elections.

She will be a keynote speaker at the inaugural conference of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, a grassroots group set up by supporters of Boris Johnson.

In her speech Patel will criticise “those in power and control in our party” who “rarely seem to be out there meeting people”.

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She will add: “As grassroots activists, we are the ones who are in touch with the people. Perhaps if they spent more time with us, they would be more in touch with the people and with our values.

“The errors and mistakes made by a minority in Westminster have cost our party dearly across the country and some of those whose seats were lost may be here today.”

She will also claim that some Tory MPs “have done a better job at damaging our party than the opposition, left-wing campaign groups, civil service blob, and our enemies in the media combined”.

“They took down a vote-winning political giant who was on course to secure a record-breaking fifth consecutive General Election win for our party”, she will add.

“Our members are angered about what has happened and this undermined the bonds of trust between our membership and the leadership of our party.
“Never again should the grassroots of our party be sidelined, neglected and ignored.”

Several other high-profile Tory MPs will be among the attendees at Saturday’s conference in Bournemouth including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries.

Patel told the I newspaper that the key theme of the conference was giving party members more of a say.

She added: “Conservative Party aside, the party in its current form, the parliamentary party, seems to want to manage status quo and manage decline.”

Meanwhile, the conference’s chairman David Campbell-Bannerman said the party faces a “turning point” as it risks the possibility of losing the next General Election.

Patel said that if her party carries on with “managed decline” then “there won’t be a future for Conservative values and beliefs”.

She added: “The parliamentary party seems to want managed decline but there is a need for a battle of ideas.”