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Conservatives have turned their fire on Theresa May ahead of the party’s annual conference, warning her that the Tories risk being “stuck in political rhetoric of the past”.

Senior Tory figures have been rattled by the interventionist policies set out at the Labour conference, which have attracted attention away from rows over Brexit and antisemitism.

Former minister Robert Halfon said Jeremy Corbyn’s messages on failing railways, overpaid bosses and infrastructure “resonates with millions of people”, as he condemned the “Groundhog Day of Brexit” among Tory ranks.

His comments came as Boris Johnson launched a fresh attack on the prime minister’s Brexit policy, describing her proposals as “a moral and intellectual humiliation for this country” that will “cheat the electorate” if implemented.

The ex-foreign secretary made the comments in a newspaper column just two days before party activists descend on Birmingham for the annual Conservative conference, which is set to be dominated by rows between different Brexit factions.

Writing for the grassroots website ConservativeHome, Mr Halfon said: “We are stuck in the political rhetoric of the past, rather than providing a proper Tory vision for the future.

“It’s why even with ‘the most left wing leader in the history of mankind etc’, Corbyn’s Labour remains pretty high in the polls.

“They are speaking to the problems faced by many. We too often speak only for the few.”

Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, also admitted that her party has failed to take seriously Labour’s campaign strategy.

Asked at a Reform Scotland thinktank whether she had seen Labour’s latest party political broadcast, Ms Truss said it was “very good” and “a serious threat” to the party.

“That video does capture the heart of where we need to be as a party… So we need to be talking about how people’s lives are getting better.” Read more

Related news: Brexit: New referendum could include option to Remain under Labour plans, says Keir Starmer. Read more