Right-Wing Surge Dooms Tory Election Hopes, As If It Wasn’t Bad Enough

A resurgent right wing is proving devastating for the Tory vote share. The rise in popularity of Reform UK has split the traditional Tory vote in two, reducing their chance of re-election.

Tory Vote Split

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Rishi Sunak will have to play a very tight game in the upcoming elections. He’s losing a significant percentage of the traditional Tory vote to the right, thanks to the way the party has handled Brexit and immigration. 

Culture Wars Dragging Party Towards Ridicule

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To appease the right wing of his party, Sunak has pushed the Rwanda deportation bill and overseen a ‘culture war’ on ‘wokeism’, trans rights and immigration. The problem is that voters aren’t buying it. 

Too Hard for Some, Not Hard Enough for Others

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Some right-wingers have said Sunak isn’t tough enough on Europe and immigration. The moderates suggest the party is going too far to appease the right-wingers.

Dragging Party to the Right Upsets Centre Right Tories

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The party’s moves to the right are alienating many moderate Tories. Social media commentary shows that many centre-right Tory voters don’t like the direction the party is taking.

Brexit Opened up Bigger Gaps Than Tories Expected

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The issue of Europe has long been a problem within the Conservative party. Although It was Thatcher who integrated us more with Europe, closer integration has long been a red line for many Tories.

Brexit Caused the Cracks

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During the run-up to the referendum, internal cracks within the party began to emerge. This led to a split in leadership—Cameron and Osborne wanted to remain, and Johnson and Gove wanted to leave.

Party Still Hasn’t Healed

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Following the referendum, the internal collision course was set. On one side were those wanting a ‘hard’ Brexit; on the other, there were those wanting to retain some alignment with the EU. 

The ERG Power Base Increased

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The European Research Group (ERG) is a group made up of Eurosceptic Conservative Party members. They’ve been a part of the Tories since 1993 but rose to prominence after the referendum.

ERG Became King Makers

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The ERG were unhappy with the direction of Brexit and lobbied in the party’s background to remove Theresa May from office. Brexit was proving a much more difficult job than the Tories expected.

Hope Under Johnson

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In the early days of the Johnson Premiership, there was hope within the Tories that he would unite the party. He was a Brexiteer, so satisfied the right of the party. He was also considered mainstream enough to be accepted by the centre of the party. 

Johnson Managed to Keep a Lid on Internal Strife

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Although Brexit wasn’t being managed well, having a Brexiteer in charge kept the protests from the right of the party quiet. It was largely overshadowed by COVID-19, but when that was over, the internal protests grew louder again.

Johnson Gone, Truss Gone, Sunak In

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We all know what happens next. Leadership pass-the-parcel, more chaos and eventually, leadership passes to the largely un-fancied Rishi Sunak.

Brexit Done, Tories Still Not Happy

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We’re now in a position where we’ve exited the EU, but the internal divisions within the Tory have reached almost breaking point. There are constant criticisms of the leadership and the handling of Brexit and immigration. 

Brexit Fragmented the Party

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The voices of criticism grew louder. Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith says, “We have yet to see the Government seize this (Brexit) opportunity”. 

Government Haven’t Delivered the Brexit the Hardliners Wanted

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Nigel Farage, who has made a political career out of criticising the EU, said, “The Conservative Party, who fought against it all the way, then landed us with a very bad deal.”

Brexit Gave Rise to the Right

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There was hope within the Tory party that exiting Europe would see UKIP, Reform and the like close down and rejoin the party with a ‘mission accomplished’ attitude. Instead, the Tories are now realising that the divisions over Europe run far deeper than party politics.

Reform, Reformed

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Whilst there was a chance that the parties campaigning for Brexit would dissipate following the referendum result, but subsequent issues emboldened them. Reform UK, which emerged from the ashes of UKIP, is currently the third largest political party in the country. 

Unhappy Tories Have a Potential New Home 

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Lee Anderson joined Reform, as has Dan Barker, the Tory candidate for the Manchester Mayoral election. He said on social media: “Delighted to be joining the new home of conservatism with Reform UK. Reform represents the ordinary people of this country.” There have been suggestions that they won’t be the last to switch teams.  

Splitting the Vote Hurting the Tories

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The result of the infighting has been a split in the Tory vote, with large numbers of people who would have previously voted Tory heading further right, to Reform. What started as an internal disagreement about Europe could potentially kill the chances of a Tory election for a generation.

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The post Right Wing Surge Dooms Tory Election Hopes first appeared on Edge Media.

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