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Could the Tories really be wiped out?

By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

The results of a ‘mega-poll’ were released this week. It diid not make happy reading for the Conservative Party. Could the Tories really be facing wipeout at the next General Election?

The British Conservative Party is the most successful election winning machine on the planet. They have won more elections than any other political organisation of any other democracy, and in the space of the past decade have provided the country with as many prime ministers as Labour have delivered since the Second World War (more by accident than design, but still…).

So, a poll that was released at the weekend, showing that the Tories would win just 98 parliamentary seats if an election was fought right now, can be dismissed as simply another survey that will bear no relation to the actual poll result, whenever that election might happen (I’m predicting October 10th).

However, the problem with that analysis is that you have to ignore the detail of this polls work – and the sheer number of those who participated.

Every constituency in England, Scotland, and Wales was polled – with a huge 15,029 sample.

Commissioned by Best for Britain, the results were nothing less than devastating for Rishi Sunak.

Not only did the poll put Labour 19 points ahead, it also suggested that:

  • A Reform UK surge is taking place across many parts of England – and it is set to finish in second place in 7 constituencies.
  • The PM and Chancellor are at risk, both leading in their seats by less than 2.5%.
  • Many other cabinet members are predicted to lose seats, including James Cleverley, Penny Mordaunt, and Grant Shapps.     
  • The Conservatives will be totally extinct in Scotland and Wales.

To hear more about how the poll was put together listen to this weeks Downtown Den Politics Podcast with the chief executive of Best for Britain, Naomi Smith.

It is hard to imagine a House of Commons, dominated for so many years by the Conservatives, having so few Tories in the chamber. Even given the detailed analysis provided by this poll, surely there will be a level of recovery for the government between now and the General Election?

That being said, there are two things that will be keeping Tory MPs – at least those of whom have decided to stay on and fight the next election – awake at night.

First, the Reform bandwagon appears to be gaining momentum. Should Nigel Farage decide to ditch his GB News job and rejoin the campaign trail, Reforms numbers would spike again. Their support comes predominantly from fed up Tories, and we may be witnessing a similar scenario to that which Labour suffered in the 1983 and ’87 elections, when the SDP split the anti-Tory vote. The UK has neve seen a split on the Right of politics – that may be about to change.

Second, almost as successful as the UK Conservative Party, was its sister party in Canada. Having been in power for nine years, the Canadian Conservatives slumped from 167 federal seats to just two in 1993.  

And, chillingly for the Tories here, there are some comparisons that cannot be ignored.

The Canadian party had recently ditched its leader, it was struggling with the economy, and they faced a new right-wing opponent – called Reform! Now, nobody is contemplating the Tories being left with only two parliamentary seats – but a crushing defeat, followed by a period of continued internal psychodrama, as the soul for future of Conservative politics in the UK is battled over – could see them in opposition for a very long time.

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