The Brexit Party has lost its purpose. But electorally, it could be the last dregs of Farage’s support that determine whether Johnson or Corbyn sets up shop in Downing Street before Christmasby Jason Reed / November 3, 2019 / Leave a comment
A First Past the Post electoral system like ours is not designed for multi-party politics. But the norm-destroying, Constitution-shredding beast that is Brexit pushed us at several points over the summer to a predicted four-way election tie, which would result in an almighty dog’s dinner of a hung Parliament.
Swathes of Leave voters saw Theresa May’s Conservatives as being unsatisfactorily committed to upholding the holy Brexit mandate which, given the multiple delays to exit day and the alleged softness of her deal, is not an entirely unreasonable position. Millions, therefore, flocked to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
Meanwhile, Labour frustrated its Remain-leaning supporters with its excruciatingly sluggish trudge towards a People’s Vote endorsement. Inevitably, it lost a sizeable chunk of its voters’ backing to the explicitly Europhilic Liberal Democrats.
Since Boris Johnson came to power, a degree of normality has been restored to the polls, with the Conservatives pulling out in front and the Brexit Party left in the dust. The Vote Leave Prime Minister is seen by enough people as being on the same side as the anti-May Tory Spartans to allow him to restore his party’s Brexiteer credentials.
This pronounced shift towards the Leave end of the Brexit spectrum may have caused a small number of Remain-leaning Tories to drop off the back end and join the Lib Dems, but not to any notable electoral consequence. Boris has probably lost more MPs than voters to the t-shirt-wearing #StopBrexit crew.
Johnson’s firm Brexit stance, then, has resulted in a significant net electoral benefit for the Conservatives, who have been restored as the mainstream Leave choice, relegating the Brexit Party to a niche irrelevancy. All Farage can do is call relentlessly for the hardest of all Brexits—No Deal—which, now that there is a Tory deal, is impossible.
This week, Farage called on Johnson to ditch his deal and plump for No Deal, nobly offering not to field candidates in some seats in return. Senior Conservatives have repeatedly rejected the undoubtedly selfless proposal of an electoral pact with the Brexit Party numerous times before; why they would ever sign up to that same pact while also tearing their party limb from limb for no earthly reason by endorsing No Deal remains unclear.
The Brexit Party only…