Death of the Tories? Farage’s Reform Party Surges to Within Two Points of Establishment ‘Conservatives’

Nigel Farage could be about to destroy one of the most successful parties in history.

Since months, the British press has been warning of an “extinction-level” event for Prime Minister Rishi Sunder’s Conservative Party at the next general election. Sir Keir’s Labour Party on the left was long projected to gain control of the Commons. The Tories were not thought to be the main opposition party after the elections.

YouGov released a poll on Wednesday showing that Nigel Farage’s five-year-old Reform Party was within striking distance to overtake the Tories in the UK as the second largest party.

The poll, conducted between Monday and Tuesday, was largely done immediately after Farage announced his return. It found that Labour still enjoys a large lead with 40 percent, followed by Tories on 19 percent, and Reform UK at just 17 points behind.


Sky News reported that Farage’s party had gained two points since last week. This suggests that, with only four weeks remaining in the campaign, Reform could surpass the Conservatives as far as total votes are concerned in a general elections — a result that was unthinkable a few weeks ago.

Like the United States, the polling industry is not very good at predicting the mood of the British public. This is especially true for the populists. They failed to predict Brexit and the UK has seen several shocking General Election results in recent years.

The latest survey indicates that a major political realignment is underway in the UK. This is not a small matter. In fact, the Liberals, who were the UK’s dominant two-party system, haven’t been demoted in more than a century.

Even then, however, the demise of Liberal Party, a coalition of Whigs and Peelites with reformist Radicals who were prominent for about six decades, pales in comparison to that of the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party has been Britain’s dominant political party for the majority of the last two centuries. Its historic counterpart, The Tories, dates back even further.

The Tories, as they’re still known colloquially, have such a stranglehold on British politics that they’ve been described as being the most successful party in democratic politics history. They led the UK in the 20th Century for 65 years without a break and have controlled Westminster in the last 14 years.

The current Conservative Party’s defeat is likely to be even more devastating than Blair’s. Although the Party proved itself resilient in 2010, after spending over 10 years in a ‘political desert’ following Labour Party PM Tony Blair’s landslide win in 1997, it appears that the current Conservative Party’s loss dwarfs Blair’s. According to some estimates conducted before Farage returned, the Tories could be reduced to as few as 66 members in the 650 seat House of Commons. This would represent a catastrophic fall after the Tories’ own landslide win in 2019, where they won 365 votes.

Other factors are still relevant. The Conservatives do not face a charismatic Labour Leader as they did in 1997. Instead, their current leader, Sir Keir, is widely considered to be one of the most “boring” figures in opposition in recent history. The Tories’ projected defeat this year will be seen as a self-immolation. They have not only abandoned their core principles of low taxation — imposing the largest tax burden since World War II to pay back the debt accrued while they were on lockdown for coronavirus — but also betrayed public trust in the Brexit promise.

The Tories, rather than fulfill their election promises to reduce migration to “tens and thousands”, have allowed unprecedented waves of foreigners to enter the country. Net migration is expected to reach an all-time record of 764,000 by 2022. Initial estimates showed that net migration decreased slightly to 685,000 last year with the arrivals of 1.2 millions people. However, previous years were significantly underestimated. Therefore, it is likely to be revealed in final numbers that last year was also a record.

Despite the overwhelming polling and the popular dissatisfaction with the Tories, Farage and the Reform Party still face challenges. The UK’s first-past the-post voting system is perhaps the biggest obstacle. It has the advantage of being easy to administer, but also means that the number votes cast rarely translates into the number seats won. This is especially true for small, new or insurgent parties.

It is therefore unlikely that the Reform UK Party will win the same number of individual parliamentary seats as the Conservatives, even in a historic upset. Even if the Conservatives lose the vote share battle, it could be the beginning of the end for the Tory party. This would lead to a political realignment similar to that in 1993 in Canada when another Reform party overthrew ‘conservative establishment’ parties and the rebel leader became Prime Minister.

After securing his position as the most influential political figure in Britain since World War II after delivering Brexit on June 29, Mr Farage said: “We’re only getting started.”