Socialist Worker

As Tories’ face wipeout, make the most of their Euro election disaster

Issue No. 2655

In a sign of the scale of the crisis, Lord Heseltine was suspended from the party whip this week

In a sign of the scale of the crisis, Lord Heseltine was suspended from the party whip this week (Pic: Flickr/JULIAN MASON)


The Tories faced a wipeout at this week’s European elections.

As polls predicted that the party could win just 9 percent of the vote, Tory MPs openly speculated about doing deals with the Brexit Party. The Financial Times newspaper wrote, “A sense of doom has settled on the party.”

In a sign of the scale of the crisis, Lord Heseltine was suspended from the party whip this week. The former deputy prime minister and Tory stalwart for over 50 years had said he might vote Lib Dem over Brexit.

Many other Tories deliberately kept a low profile in the European elections.

One Midlands MP said that if he asked activists to campaign they would “laugh”.

And it’s not only the Euro elections that the Tories have to worry about.

An Opinium poll for the Observer newspaper last weekend showed that more voters would back the Brexit Party than the Tories at the next general election.

Nigel Farage’s party got 24 percent of the vote in the poll, while the Tories got 22 percent. Tories are either defecting to the Brexit Party or pledging to vote for it.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt last weekend said it was “unavoidable” that the Tories would form “some kind of electoral pact” with the Brexit Party.

Just days after the European elections, May faces another defeat when her Brexit deal is put to the vote for a fourth time.

May’s claim to be offering a “new and improved deal” has fallen flat.

As one Tory official said, “There’s nothing new in it, it’s all the stuff we know about already.”

Even Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has threatened to withdraw support for the deal.

She told the Radio 4 Today programme this week that she continued to support May and the bill “as long as it continues to be leaving the European Union”.

She said she couldn’t back any changes to the deal that would open up the possibility of a formal customs union with the European Union.

Customs 

May has managed to cling onto office despite three defeats in parliament—but she is now losing even more support. The Opinium poll found that two out of five voters who backed the Tories in 2017 think May should resign now, compared to 32 percent before April’s local elections.

And for the first time, more people thought that MPs should vote down May’s Brexit deal than thought they should vote for it.

May should go now.

But it’s an utter scandal that those who will immediately benefit the most from the Tory crisis are the racists of the Brexit Party and other right wing Tories.

A series of Tories have started wrangling over who will replace May when she is finally forced out.

On Monday the disgraced former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey launched her bid to become the next Tory leader.

Her “Blue Collar Conservatism” is supposedly geared towards what working class people want.

It focused on reactionary policies such as slashing the aid budget and giving more cash to the cops.

Other leadership options include former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who thinks men face “blatant discrimination” and says workers in Britain are “idlers”.

Or there’s former banker and current home secretary Sajid Javid, who likes to attack migrants and refugees.

But the favourite to succeed May is millionaire old Etonian and hardline right wing Brexiteer Boris Johnson.

Getting a new leader won’t end the Tory crisis and it won’t get rid of the party’s deep divisions over Brexit.

We need to urgently fight to force May and the Tories out—and to stop the right from gaining from their crisis.


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