David Cameron’s ship was not sinking when Douglas Carswell and then his besty, Mark Reckless decided to leave, but there is now real pressure to steer hard right on immigration law and avoid mutiny of supporters.
Reckless did his best, in the timing (during Conservative’s B’ham conference), delivery (at UKIP’s conference in Doncaster) and in his description (Tory leadership had let voters down) of his defection to wreck Tory prospects at the next election. UKIP suggest at least one more Tory is expected to jump- possibly more, depending on the outcomes of the by-elections.
Today’s sunday Times reports one senior Tory MP saying the defections mean it is impossible to foresee a Conservative majority at the next election.
According to The Sunday Times, data disclosed by Tory peer, lord Ashcroft, from a Survey of more than 8,000 voters, shows more than a quarter of those who voted Conservative in 2010 no longer support the party- and almost three quarters of them now support UKIP. A poll for BBC’s Sunday Politics suggests 30% of Tory councillors believe Cameron should strike an electoral pact with UKIP. And 86% believe immigration has been detrimental to the UK.
The central divisive issues have been immigration and the UK’s relationship with Europe. So how does all this change the bigger picture? Ironically, if it splits the anti-immingration and anti-Europe vote (mostly former conservative voters), it could make a labour Government more likely and reduce the prospects of an EU referendum. On the other hand if a deal were done between Conservatives and UKIP… well that would be different again.
As ever, the way the country is run seems to have more to do with the machinations of the political class than with the will of the people.
I am sure they know best.
Photo: Thanks Yorkville
This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com