Nando’s has denied that the Conservatives will be able to use discounts at the restaurant to attract new members.
The party is attempting to figure out ways to match Labour’s gains in membership, and it was reported over the weekend that the high street chicken staple could be held out as a carrot.
However, a spokesman for Nando’s told the i: “As a brand we have no political affiliations and we are not considering this.”Figures among the Tories consider the party’s £25-a-year membership card could become a discount card with money off food, clothes and other purchases, according to plans in motion at Tory HQ, The Times reported.
Labour now has more than 550,000 members, compared to the Conservatives’ meagre and ageing 124,000 activists, with ramifications for the governing party’s ground game when it comes to elections.
“The discount card is a very real possibility,” a party source told the Times. Early discussions Nando’s pedigree was given a boost in recent months after Prince William declared himself a fan.
However, Jacob-Rees Mogg is not a Nando’s devotee, although he admitted a regard for the eclairs at another high street staple, Greggs.
With Nando’s rejection, there remains the question of whether businesses would want to be seen as partisan in this way.
“These are early discussions – we don’t know how many businesses would want to take part, but we’re keen to give members more in return for their membership,” the insider told the Times.
Labour, for its part, saw the humour in the situation, with a spokesman telling i: “The desperate Tories offering a Nando’s discount scheme was always a peri peri stupid idea.”
The Tories have also re-opened their youth wing after a 2015 bullying scandal led to it being wound up.
The age limit for youth membership has dropped from 30 to 25, meaning older 20-somethings will no longer be forced to contribute separately through the youth wing.
Top youth campaigners will also be given “VIP” passes for Conservative party conference in an attempt to make local associations more in tune with their younger activists.
It was reported that Brandon Lewis, the party’s new chairman, had taken youth matters in hand to avoid the creation of unofficial groups. Activate, a self-styled answer to Labour’s Momentum, went off half-cocked after WhatsApp chats leaked almost immediately featuring references to “gassing chavs”.