One of the things that we know from previous elections is that parties that are seen to be divided can get punished by the voters. That was John Major’s fate at GE1997 after five difficult years of one split after another.
The current situation, as seen in the recent YouGov polling illustrated in the chart and touched on in this week’s podcast, looks challenging and could be hugely problematical if there is the need for an early election. This, of course, is something that’s made more likely with the current Commons arithmetic. That just 8% of the sample and only 15% of CON voters felt able to describe the the party as “united” is extraordinary.
What’s really striking about the poll is that when this was asked two weeks before GE17 43% said the thought to Tories were united with just 29% against. That’s a whopping turnaround.
Public splits are going to be magnified simply because of the threat to the government’s position.
Labour, as we’ve seen in the reaction within the movement to Corbyn’s weekend comments on BREXIT on the Marr show, is nearly as bad but interestingly there’s been a huge effort in the past few days to create a semblance of a unified position. I put that down to the Corbyn’s comment being poorly prepared for the Marr interview.
There’s a great article by Marie Le Conte on Vice news about the current state of thinking within the blue team and how a before the recess senior Tory figures were briefing against TMay only a few yards away from where the PM was standing at some events. It is here under the provocative heading “An Insider’s Guide to Tory In-Fighting”.
My view is that the Tory splits will continue as long as the leadership position remains uncertain.