— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) September 5, 2019
Tonight’s Financial Times reports that
Some Labour strategists believe the Tories would be damaged by a spike in support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party if Mr Johnson fails to fulfil his pledge to take the UK out of the EU by October 31, “do or die”.
An ICM poll suggests that support for the Brexit party would double from 9 per cent to 18 per cent if an election takes place after Halloween. The poll, commissioned by Represent Us — which is pushing for a second Brexit referendum — found the Conservatives’ lead over Labour would evaporate in those circumstances.
The ICM poll suggests the Tories would beat Labour by 37 per cent against 30 per cent in an October election, while the two parties would be neck and neck on 28 per cent in a November poll.
As ever I would caution you about the limits of hypothetical polling but this strategy but the reality is that if the Labour leadership is smart they will see this poll and only grant Boris Johnson an election after the 31st of October has come and gone.
Boris Johnson’s needless arbitrary deadline is going cause him problems, something which many of us without Dominic Cummings galaxy sized brain warned was a mistake.
If the anti No Deal bill is going become law then Boris Johnson is either going to have to
i) Ignore the law, which leads to many problems for him including the end of Premiership.
ii) Break his word and probably see the hardline Leavers in the country and inside the Conservative party call Boris Johnson the biggest collaborator since Philippe Pétain. Given all the occasions Boris Johnson has broken his marriage vows, breaking a political vow will be easy. If you think Nigel Farage will go easy on Boris Johnson in this situation I have bridge to sell to you.
iii) Make way for someone who will get an extension to Article 50, probably Jeremy Corbyn. If Boris Johnson allows Corbyn to become many in the Conservative Party will never forgive him. Corbyn actually becoming Prime Minister will reduce the effectiveness of the expected ‘Project Fear’ the Conservatives will run about a potential Corbyn premiership.
From a betting perspective those of us who have laid an October general election are going to feel incredibly smug after reading this FT article and the polling therein. Although one can never feel comfortable about relying on Jeremy Corbyn, a man who seems to go out of his way to step on every available political banana skin.