Pre-election storm: Conservatives fleeing the sinking Tory ship

Author Alexander Tatiev
Category Columnists, People, Town
Date February 13 2024
Reading Time 2 min.

Pre-election storm: Conservatives fleeing the sinking Tory ship

The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom anticipates a possible (and, according to recent polls, likely) defeat in the elections. Senior Tories are already openly expressing concerns about electoral prospects. This concern manifests in a decline in morale and discord within the party ranks. Despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s efforts to defend economic and political positions and regain public support, analysts increasingly doubt the party’s ability to mobilise its voters.

Against this backdrop, Tories face yet another problem: the emergence of the “People’s Conservatism” movement (PopCons), led by former Prime Minister Liz Truss. These far-right populists aim to gather grassroots support within the party, attracting the doubtful and disillusioned to their side. The PopCons program is based on opposition to green initiatives as well as all left and feminist-LGBT activism. And their plan seems to be working! At least there is evident turmoil among traditional conservatives: some view PopCons as potential allies in the fight against Labour, but most understand it as a divisive force risking alienating centrist voters and undermining party unity. Yes, Liz Truss is exceedingly unpopular, yet she could still pull away Tory votes and pose competition after the elections.

But the Conservatives’ woes don’t end there. Concurrently with the emergence of “People’s Conservatism,” one of the biggest Tories, former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, announced his decision to step down as a Member of Parliament in the upcoming elections. Everyone remembers Kwarteng’s tenure as the country’s financial strategist wasn’t without its upheavals: the fiasco of his mini-budget and subsequent dismissal will go down in history as major failures. So his current decision to leave Parliament may only indicate growing instability within the Conservative Party. Moreover, Kwarteng has become one of nearly 60 active Tories who have stated they don’t plan to run in this year’s elections. It seems many of them realise: there’s no chance of retaining their parliamentary constituencies.

And it seems another blow will be dealt this week in two traditionally Conservative constituencies, Wellingborough and Kingswood, by-elections will take place. Analysts predict these former Tory seats will go to Labour.

The Conservative party ship is sinking! They don’t even attempt to hide the situation. And while some prominent and lesser Tories are simply fleeing the political arena, others, like Liz Truss, are trying to occupy some post-election niche. At this rate, the upcoming general elections risk becoming practically non-alternative.

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