The Progressive Conservatives faced a toxic combination: not just a terrible vote share, but two powerful and regionally-concentrated challengers in Reform and the Bloc Québécois.
They can appeal to two groups: those currently intending to vote for Reform UK, and those who currently “don’t know” who they would vote for if a general election were held tomorrow but who backed the Conservatives in 2019.
Party strategists will be concerned that Reform UK managed to post double-digit vote shares in both Kingswood and Wellingborough. But the mortal danger is Labour, and Conservatives cannot afford to forget it.
It is a party with no prospect of any majority in the House of Commons, which cannot and will not change a word of legislation – and will put in grave peril the real progress we have made since 2019.
Four, deep-rooted currents in are carving out space for movements which seek to prioritise the interests, the culture, the values, and the ways of life of the majority group against what they see as self-interested, corrupt, narcissistic, and incompetent elites.
The fundamentals of our democracy are strong: voters continue to take pride in their community, to respect their neighbours, and to want Britain to be an outgoing, self-confident country that plays its part on the world stage.
In the previous five elections, the size of the shift in the polling gap between election day and six months before has been between six per cent and 12 per cent towards the Conservatives.
Voters believe four of the Government’s five key pledges are more likely to happen under Labour than the Conservatives. Meanwhile, 2019 Tory voters prioritise spending on public services over tax cuts,
Again, it is undecided voters who are more hawkish on immigration. The issue’s high salience with swing voters is why it will be an important battleground in the next election.
“If Nigel Farage doesn’t come back to lead… it never manifests in by-elections, it doesn’t have a ground machine, so I expect a few points of that would probably end up back in the Tory column.”
Farage is 59 – a rubbery, ebullient 59, but 59 nonetheless. Does he really fancy a decade’s prospective work to recast the right, with no certainty of elected office at the end of it?
The longer Number Ten fails to declare, the more cheerfully Labour will pile in – preparing to frame the Prime Minister as a bottler if he waits until after the Budget to rule out a May poll.
The channel will help to shape Tory members’ take on the general election, the Conservatives, Reform UK, Farage, post-election debate…and, not least, America’s own election, Trump and Biden.
With both Labour and the Conservatives committed in practice to importing hundreds of thousands of people a year, there is scope for a minor party to harness deep public concern about the status quo.