Nigel Farage’s Party Threatens Conservatives, Left-Wing on Course for Historic Victory

July 3, 2024 by No Comments

The United Kingdom faces a potentially historic election this week as the Conservative Party’s 14-year reign appears poised to end after a tumultuous period marked by leadership struggles.

“Polls suggest that the Conservatives are in serious trouble, and, in my view, I believe a socialist government would be disastrous,” Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation and a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, told Digital. “However, after 14 years of Conservative rule, the British public have turned against the Conservatives.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for the election in May, coinciding with the announcement that inflation had fallen to 2.3%, its lowest level in three years. Capitalizing on this economic success, Sunak declared that a national election would be held on July 4. 

The Conservative Party, also known as the Tories in the U.K., immediately found itself facing a two-pronged challenge as Nigel Farage announced his return to politics and assumed leadership of the Reform UK Party.

The polls initially favored the Tories when Sunak announced the election, with the Tories trailing the rival Labour Party by approximately 20 points. However, over the past six weeks, Labour has maintained a consistent lead above 40% share, while the Tories have seen a decline in voter share, ceding ground to Reform. 

As voters prepare to cast their ballots on July 4, Labour has dipped just below 40% for the first time during the campaign cycle, while the Conservatives have regained some ground, surpassing 20%. Reform currently holds about 17.5% of the vote, while the Liberal-Democrats hover above 10%, according to aggregated polling data .

“It’s very difficult to predict the number of seats that Reform will win,” Gardiner advised. “They will undoubtedly secure some seats, but it’s challenging to estimate their exact number.” 

“The Conservatives, I believe, will remain the main opposition to the Labour Party because, under the first-past-the-post system, parties like Reform will struggle to win a significant number of seats even if they garner 15% to 20% of the vote, due to the nature of the system.”

“Reform will capture a considerable portion of the British vote, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a large number of seats,” he added, acknowledging that Reform has established a “very successful party” and is “a force in British politics.” 

The Green Party has roughly 5% of the vote, which could potentially lead to their highest-ever number of seats and a presence in Parliament. The party currently has one Member of Parliament (MP) but secured 74 seats across England’s local elections in early May, achieving their highest number of seats in local councils, . 

However, all eyes remain on the top-billed contest between Labour and the Conservatives, which currently appears poised for a historic Labour majority of around 280 seats, representing the largest post-war majority in Parliament.

Of the 632 seats available across the U.K., projected Labour to win 465, leaving the Conservatives with around 76 – a significant decline from their near-historic 365 seats won in 2019 under Boris Johnson.

Following Johnson, whose term ended after the scandal-ridden minister succumbed to the , the Conservatives appointed Liz Truss, whose tenure lasted only 50 days. Rishi Sunak subsequently took over, facing criticism throughout his term for his perceived lack of a conservative approach to policy and politics. 

“The Conservative Party has abandoned many of its own voters,” Gardiner asserted. “It has failed to promote conservative ideas and principles recently, and I believe that many conservative voters have simply abandoned the Conservative Party – they’re switching to Reform.” 

“I think over the next five years, the Conservatives will need to rebuild as a party on the right by returning to conservative, Thatcherite principles,” he said, expressing concern that the Conservatives “could be facing, potentially, the biggest defeat in 100 years.”

“The outlook is very bleak,” he added. 

The Conservative Party allowed the Brexit referendum vote, which resulted in the UK Independence Party achieving its goal of removing Britain from the European Union. Politicians debate the extent to which this move has been successful or failed, with Farage, its chief architect, defending the decision by arguing that the Conservatives “mismanaged this completely,” . 

As a result, Farage’s Reform has campaigned in every constituency to build a substantial contingent in Parliament. Farage has set an ambitious goal of potentially orchestrating a “reverse takeover” of the Conservative Party with Reform.

“One can speculate about what will happen in three or four years, but all I will say is if Reform succeeds in the way that I believe they can, then a portion of the Conservative Party will join us – it’s the other way around,” Farage told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” in early June. 

Citing Canada as an example, Farage argued that “Reform did a reverse takeover of the Conservative Party, rebranded it, and Stephen Harper – who was elected as a Reform MP – became the Canadian prime minister for 10 years.”