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Tories confirm party looking at setting up ‘another’ headquarters outside London

Officials said they were considering whether to establish a new base to ‘better reflect the party’s new geographic make-up’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London in the run-up to the general election (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London in the run-up to the general election (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

The Conservative Party has confirmed it is considering setting up “another” headquarters office outside of London following its shock election wins in the North and Midlands.

Boris Johnson won a slew of seats across Labour’s heartlands at the December election, a result that helped hand him an 80-seat majority, after promising to “level-up” the UK’s regions through infrastructure and broadband upgrades.

With Tory MPs now representing parts of the North East and Midlands that the party has never held before, officials have confirmed they are looking at whether to establish a new base to “better reflect the party’s new geographic make-up”.

Following the strong and historic result in December, there were a series of early discussions about how our structures better reflect the party's new geographic make-up Conservative Party spokesman

The announcement follows a report by Conservative Home, a Tory-focused news website, stating that senior officials were planning to move the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) out of the capital.

A spokesman for the Tories said: “Following the strong and historic result in December, there were a series of early discussions about how our structures better reflect the party’s new geographic make-up.

“This includes a project to look at potential sites for another CCHQ office outside of London.

“Nothing has been confirmed and any changes would be made in consultation with staff.”

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Boris Johnson visited Sedgefield, Tony Blair’s former seat, after it was taken by the Tories at the general election (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

The Prime Minister saw unexpected blue victories in constituencies such as Blyth Valley – a seat never held by the Tories since its 1950 inception – Blackpool South and West Bromwich East.

According to Conservative Home, a Downing Street source confirmed a big shake-up to the Tory Party structure as a result.

“There will be a small office in London but maybe up by King’s Cross,” the Number 10 insider told the news outlet.

The report said Downing Street wanted the new venue to be “somewhere reasonably close to a university with good maths/physics departments (we should get a data team up there), good train links, well-placed in political terms” and were asking for ideas from readers.

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Boris Johnson leaving CCHQ with partner Carrie Symonds and dog Dilyn as his party romped to victory in the 2019 general election (Drew Matthews/PA)

At present CCHQ is spread across two floors of 4 Matthew Parker Street, a commercial property a short walk from Parliament.

The Times reported that there could be logistical difficulties in the short-term with trying to move most of the operation out of London.

The building was sold for £50 million to Charles Street Buildings last April and the terms of the CCHQ lease on the building are not clear, the newspaper reported.

The idea of getting out of London is not limited to the Tories. Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy has expressed a desire to move her own party headquarters away from the capital.

She wants the opposition outfit to leave Southside, its current premise in Victoria, close to Westminster, to a location in its former heartlands as part of efforts to reconnect with voters it lost at recent elections.

Announcing her leadership pitch earlier this month in the Wigan Post, she said: “We’ve been told over and over again by people in what were our former Labour heartlands that we need to change, we can’t just keep changing the man at the top and making decisions from Victoria Street in London and think we can fix things for people.”

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