- Senior Tory campaign insider says Theresa May alienated precisely the voters she most sought to target.
- The 'dementia tax' and police cuts were crucial in costing May her majority.
- May's policing record undermined her "strong and stable" message.
- Voters feared she would abuse a large majority and target them with punitive policies.
LONDON — Theresa May's 'dementia tax' and her record on police cuts were crucial in convincing target Conservative voters that she could not be trusted with their vote, a senior Conservative campaign insider has told Business Insider,
Watch: Manchester Police officer confronts May
One-time Community Police Officer of the Year, Damian O’Reilly, made a heartfelt appeal to May to reverse cuts to local policing which had caused intelligence about possible attacks to dry up.
"I have worked in inner city Manchester for 15 years," O'Reilly told May at a Police Federation conference in 2015.
"I felt passionate about what I was doing [but] in 2010 I had to leave. I couldn't take it any more because the changes that have been imposed have caused community policing to collapse.
"Intelligence has dried up. There aren't local officers, they don't know what's happening. They're all reactive, there's no proactive policing locally. That is the reality ma'am."
He added that: "Neighbourhood policing is critical to dealing with terrorism. We run the risk here of letting communities down, putting officers at risk and ultimately risking national security and I would ask you to seriously consider the budget and the level of cuts over the next five years."
However, May's poorly received manifesto and her record on security, seriously damaged May with precisely this target group of voters, the senior campaign insider told BI.
The issues led to huge voter volatility, putting up to 40 previously bankable Tory battleground seats in doubt.
The comments from inside the campaign comes as the beginnings of a possible challenge against May emerges, following her failed bid for a landslide general election majority.
Senior figures in the Conservative party are already mobilising behind the scenes in favour of possible replacements for May, party sources have told Business Insider.