Politics in the UK is arguably at its most divisive and confusing since the Thatcher years in the 1980’s. Brexit is obviously the main issue, and almost everyone is fed up of politicians either making the wrong decisions, or ignoring their views. Although traditionally it has been impossible for a new political party in the UK to actually make any significant progress in the short-term, it seems inevitable that a new party is going to be created. Theresa May’s government is clinching onto power, and the possibility of a Conservative leadership contest or yet another general election is very high. Despite what the prominent figures at the top of the two main parties say, the simple fact is that no one can be fully supportive of them and their policies. It would not be surprising to see a new political party on the ballot paper across the country in the next General Election.
The question is, what will this possible new party consist of? There are many different options which would be pretty successful at gaining public attention and support. Labour and the Conservatives are in a complete mess; and voters understandably are confused about who to vote for.
Labour members have been divided ever since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in September 2015. The concern for some Labour voters is that the party is endorsing left-wing ideology and no longer follows the Blairite centrist approach. Despite Tony Blair’s unpopularity, he was the most successful leader ever for the party; winning three General Elections. Nevertheless, the majority of Labour members strongly support Corbyn and his socialist agenda. This creates the first problem for Labour voters, as people who want a more centrist party that can win over aspirational people are stranded with Corbyn. The Parliamentary Labour Party is the perfect example; the likes of John Mann MP and Chuka Umunna absolutely hate Corbyn’s politics, and it is rather surprising that they haven’t jumped ship like Frank Field MP.
The second major problem for Labour is Brexit. At the 2018 party conference many members went forward with an agenda to force the shadow cabinet and the leadership to endorse a second referendum. Ironically, Corbyn and McDonnell have always been Eurosceptics and understandably they are reluctant to endorse a policy calling for a “People’s Vote”. However, due to the members at party conference, Labour’s official policy is now for a General Election as soon as possible but a second referendum is an option. 40% of Brexit voters also voted Labour so this therefore means working-class Brexiteers have nowhere to turn.
Labour’s problems mean a new centrist left-wing party could be created, which endorses a People’s Vote. The Liberal Democrats have failed to capitalise on the remain and centrist voters across the country, meaning that a similar party could emerge. Sir Vince Cable has said that his party could become a movement and attract far more voters than the 8% of which they are currently polling at. A new movement or party could also attract the likes of liberal conservatives including Anna Soubry MP. Although just 25% of people actually want a second referendum, in the short term this could be a successful party that unites remain voters.
On the opposite end of the political spectrum, the right-wing parties and voters are also failing to show unity. Brexit voters are furious with Theresa May’s sellout Chequers Plan proposal, as it ties the UK to EU legislation and leaves us bound to various trade rules. Despite the Conservative Party’s complete disunity, UKIP have failed to attract patriotic voters because of their focus on anti-Islam ideology and the endorsement of controversial figure Tommy Robinson. Therefore, Brexit voters who are angry with the Conservatives also feel stranded and are unable to vote for a party that truly believes in Brexit without extremist vibes.
Nigel Farage MEP and other prominent Brexiteers have endorsed the movement Leave Means Leave. This Eurosceptic group wants to see a simple Brexit deal which includes a Canada-style free trade agreement which would also lead to a simple solution regarding the Northern Irish border. The Movement has been touring the country to try and rally support for their Brexit proposal. However, when it comes to the ballot box these voters still have no realistic option. Therefore, this could possibly lead to the creation of a new right-wing party that is for Brexiteers. However, this seems unlikely as Conservative MP’s would never abandon their party, and are still hoping that the likes of Boris Johnson MP and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP become leaders if a leadership contest is announced.
A new political party in the UK certainly seems possible, but in reality is very unlikely to happen. If the next General Election occurs in 2022, then Brexit will not be the focus of the campaign, and instead it will be about domestic policy and the choice between socialism and Conservatism. British politics is at breaking point, and a monumental event is just around the corner. If a new political party emerges, then it will only be for the short-term. Only time will tell whether a new party is created, and how successful it will be!