HomeLatest NewsUK Election Preview: Are Conservatives Facing a Devastating Defeat?

UK Election Preview: Are Conservatives Facing a Devastating Defeat?

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The UK government has announced an election on July 4. This is a curious choice of date. Since Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the vote, the narrative has been that the Conservatives will suffer a crushing defeat. This is largely due to a British electorate that wants new blood at the helm.

In terms of policies, the Conservatives or Tories and Labour are virtually indistinguishable. Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader, has pushed his party closer to the center, while the Tories abandoned many conservative positions.

Other parties can be added to the mix. The presence of other parties, such as the Greens and Liberal Democrats, should not have a major impact on the election. However regional parties like Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party will. Even in Scotland, a notoriously leftist country, the SNP threatens to replace Labour. Reform UK, led by Nigel Farage, was the wildcard up until recent times. However, Reform UK’s threat is now lessened.

The conventional wisdom says that the Tories will have a rough day on Thursday. Do I dare to call this the worst Fourth of July for Britain in 248, years? The former PM Boris Johnson said at a Tuesday rally that it was “the height of madness, if the polls are correct, to think we’re about to give Labour an absolute majority?”

James Kanagasooriam, a pollster, said that Johnson’s rally speech at the last minute was “like a person who asks if they can help 30 seconds before dinner is served.”

James Heale is a reporter for The Spectator.

Labour’s candidates claim that it is “highly probable” that Labour will win a historic landslide tomorrow. Mel Stride, during this morning’s BBC media round, was asked if he agrees with Suella Braverman who wrote in The Telegraph that an almost complete wipeout is on the cards. The Work and Pensions secretary replied, ‘I accept where the polls stand at this time’. The Work and Pensions Secretary said that tomorrow, we will most likely be in a position where [Labour] has the largest majority of any party ever.

Sunak retracted a little when asked by ITV whether he had given in. Sunak said on This Morning that Stride didn’t say it was about reducing the size of the Labour victory. Sunak explained that Mel was warning about the consequences of an unchecked very large Labour majority. The PM said that he is ‘fighting for every vote.’ He said that analysis showed that “just 130,000 people could make the difference” in this election. It’s not for everyone who watches and thinks “Oh, it’s all a done deal”.

The Tories are also not helped by unforced mistakes. Kemi Badeloth, a member of parliament who was on the list to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, could lose her seat because her local council forgot the vote-by-mail ballots. This mistake could also undermine her chances of leading the party.

How bad will the defeat be? It’s not clear. Heale discussed the scenarios with Kanagasooriam, Katy Balls, and The Spectator on their podcast Coffee House Shots. Kanagasooriam described the scenarios as having three “doors.”

He said: “The first, and I believe Cervation has come up with it is a very apocalyptic scene of the Conservative Party fighting with the Liberal Democrats to get second and third on about 60 seats.”

“The second, which is the host of companies including mine [Focaldata], is a very, extremely bad election result for the Conservatives but about 110 seats.” He added, “It’s a terrible drop from 370.” “Eight points below the lowest vote share since the franchise but still there and still large and still triple digits.”

He concluded: “And I guess there’s a third door that people don’t mention, which is to swing back into don’t know, or a slightly larger vote share.”

Kanagasooriam said the two first scenarios are equally probable at around 40% each. The third “door” is about 20% likely. It sounds as if this election could be up in the wind in many ways.

We may not be able to report the results immediately, as the election is on a holiday in the United States. If no one else reports on it Thursday, I will have a post-mortem and recap today.

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