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The jobs of one or more of Dave/Ed/Nigel/Nick could be on the line if the May 22nd elections don’t meet expectations

April 11th, 2014

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This could be a very dangerous period for all 4 leaders

On May 22nd there are the Euro Elections and as well, for 58% of voters nationwide, local elections. This will be the biggest electoral test before the May 7 2015 general election. The outcomes could impact on the futures of all four main party leaders.

Parts of the Conservative party have never been reconciled to David Cameron and he’s still blamed in some quarters for failing to win a majority in 2010. It is not beyond the bounds of probability that what is perceived as a dismal failure next month, say coming a bad third in the Euros and losing a lot of council seats, could spark off leadership speculation. If UKIP tops the Euros then panic could really set in.

The Tories have shown in the past that they can be totally ruthless with failing leaders.

Their coalition partners, the Lib Dems, face the possibility of losing all their MEPs as well as another wallop of council seats. They could even come behind the Greens to take fifth in the Euros. Nick Clegg’s debate performances with Farage have not helped his position and it was noticeable that there were leadership rumblings in the weekend press.

It is striking how much the yellows are talking down their elections hopes.

That’s in sharp contrast to UKIP which is riding high and there are massive expectations. Nigel Farage has set coming top in the Euros as his objective and this is what the party expects him to deliver. His dictatorial style of leadership is fine if the party is winning but what happens if it comes second or even third?

On the face of it Ed Miliband is the safest of the four but there are large parts of the movement that have never come to terms with his shock victory over his brother in the 2010 leadership election. Consistent poll leads a few points south of the 40s are creating a sense of uneasiness. A poor set of results on May 22 could provide the peg for a challenge.

My guess is that we are so close to the general election that all four will survive – but I’m not betting on it.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble