Can the Liberal Democratic Party become the official opposition?

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Good morning. The Reform Party issued a manifesto yesterday promises tax cuts of nearly £90 billion – a sum that raises questions like “seriously, why stop there? Why not £180 billion?”

But, of course, part of the point of Reform is that this is a way for some Conservative voters to vote for a right-wing party without having to torment themselves with difficult questions about the total How will the money add up?

Although no poll has shown Reform coming close to winning a significant number of seats, every poll conducted since Nigel Farage opted to campaign and since the D gaffe Rishi Sunak’s -Day shows the Tory party is in deep trouble. Before that, the Conservative Party was “ready” to receive a heavy defeat. Now the polls show Reform is doing well enough for the Conservatives to win second place in the House of Commons.

Here are some thoughts on what might happen next.

Internal Politics edited by Harvey Nriapia Today. Read previous editions of newsletter here. Please send in your gossip, thoughts and feedback [email protected]

Yellow brick road

The big picture in this election is this: the polls really, really, Actually is not good for the Conservatives and we have no reason to believe they are wrong other than one small error. While the Tory party has slightly outperformed its poll ratings in local elections, that has not been enough to change the overall narrative.

Also, a good rule of thumb is to remember that even if polls are wrong, they still tend to capture the relative dynamics between the parties (even if they don’t get the exact right level of support). ). We should be confident that the growing support for Reform and the Liberal Democrats that we have seen since the start of the election is a real trend and we know that both further affecting the number of seats of the Conservative Party. Some thoughts on what might happen next.

One thing that could happen is that Conservative voters who think it is time for a change of government, but want the Conservative Party to remain the main alternative to Labour, will return to enough numbers for the Conservatives to finish. ahead of the Liberal Democratic Party in terms of seats.

Another is that Conservative votes are distributed across the country in a way that means doomsday predictions will not come to pass. As Oliver Hawkins and Jonathan Vincent explain in their piece on why different projections show different thingsone of the biggest variables is how the Conservative Party’s vote decline varies geographically.

Pollsters are showing a similar distribution of Conservative support, but small differences will lead to large differences in the number of seats

A third possibility is that the polls remain as bad as they are for the Conservatives today, or continue to slide, and the Liberal Democrats come second in seats while the Conservatives fall to third. Although there are some Liberal Democrats who lean more to the right, the center of gravity of the party is on the left – and I don’t think it is likely that the Liberal Democrats will be able to replace the Conservatives. on the right wing of British politics.

But we just don’t know for sure – if the trends in the polls continue, then a lot of voters and activists won’t be well represented in the House and that energy will have to go somewhere. One place it could go is the Liberal Democratic Party, whose ultra-democratic structure means it can change quickly.

Another possibility, if Reform can win some seats, is for the Conservatives to take over in reverse. I think there’s a chance of this happening, even with whatever the election results look like Our free general election prediction tool out of today’s poll average: Labor 457 Conservatives 96 Liberal Democracy 52.

In that situation, the Conservatives would be very weak in parliament and would struggle to muster any meaningful opposition from week to week. If there is even a Reform MP in the House, the calls for union will be strong.

But all of this is impossible to predict until we know exactly what will happen in two weeks. What we know at the moment is that the opinion polls took place in May and since then the Conservatives’ position has gotten worse, not better. A Conservative crisis and/or Ed Davey emerging as opposition leader seem remote, but they are not far from what the polls are telling us now .

Now try this

Last night I went to see one of the best shows I’ve ever been to: the Labèque siblings performing a play by Philip Glass Cocteau Trio at the Barbican Centre. Friend DG’s recording can be heard hereand I added it along with the encore Inside Politics tracklist.

Top stories today

  • Room in a boarding house | The public sector has enough space to absorb the exodus of private school students if the Labor Party removes VAT incentives for them, FT analysis shows.

  • ‘Project A30’ | Liberal Democrat aides are calling on party donors to help them win in their former heartland of the South West

  • New rule | Rachel Reeves has signaled that private equity bosses putting their capital at risk in a deal will be hit with income tax as a capital gain rather than income.

  • Extinction election? | In case you missed it, check it out New episode of Sketchy Politics herewhere the FT’s UK chief political commentator Robert Shrimsley and deputy commentary editor Miranda Green asked whether the Reforms were behind an extinction-level event for the Conservative Party.

Below are the Financial Times’ live UK opinion polls, incorporating voting intention surveys published by major British pollsters. Visit the FT’s poll tracking page to find out Our methodology and exploration of poll data by demographics including age, gender, region, etc.

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