In the middle of the Conservative leadership contest, one thing appears inevitable; a general election is on the horizon. Whether this is through a vote of no confidence or through the next leader calling an election to break the impasse, it is looming, and Brexiteers must be ready to campaign and to win.
As in 2015, Nigel Farage is a thorn in the side of the Tories electoral chances. But in 2019 his impact appears to be even more profound. Tonight, the Daily Telegraph uncovered discussion of a pact between the Brexit Party and Tory donors. It could see the Brexit Party not contest seats held by Leave-voting Conservative MPs and give the Brexit Party a free-run in the leave-voting Labour. A pact can save influential Brexiteers like Iain Duncan Smith, whose majority has narrowed in recent elections.
It would be disastrous for the pro-Brexit vote to split and enable a Corbynista, who intends to thwart the democratic wishes of the British people, to be elected to the Commons. Furthermore, it can allow the Conservatives and Brexit Party to concentrate their resources. Including the Brexit Party to focus on seats like Wigan, that has been held by Labour since 1918.
Electoral pacts are not unusual in British political history. Before the 2015 general election, there were similar talks about a potential Conservative and UKIP coalition, yet this failed before take-off. The SDP-Liberal alliance was a relative success that ultimately ended in full political merger.
However, in the late 19th and early 20th century, electoral alliances were successful and essential to preventing another party from taking control of the Commons. The one that appears to have the most considerable parallels with the dilemma facing Brexiteers is undoubtedly the Lib-Lab Pact of 1903.
The Gladstone-MacDonald agreement saw the Labour Representation Committee face no competition from the Liberals in 31 seats, successfully leading to 24 of their candidates entering the Commons.
Had the pact not been taken then the anti-Conservative vote would have been massively split potentially enabling the Conservatives to storm the Commons. Instead, 1906 proved to be the end of Conservative hegemony and the beginning of Liberal welfare reforms.
When the pact failed to resume in 1910, seats like Gateshead went from having a 4,000-vote majority over the Tories to little over 400. In the national picture, the Liberal landslide collapsed and instead the Commons became a hung parliament.
The historical use of pacts accompanied by the recent Westminster opinion polls have convinced me of the merits that an electoral pact can grant Britain her independence. The last four consecutive YouGov polls have placed the Brexit Party as the largest party; however, because of the first-past-the-post system, this may not see the Brexit Party govern Britain.
To ensure that the referendum result is implemented and to prevent Corbyn crippling the country, the two parties must think big and form a pact. The two parties can look to Peterborough to see their vote enabling Labour to succeed, and a potential by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire may prove to be even more damaging. The rural Welsh seat may see the Liberal Democrats sneak to victory with the Tories and Brexit Party in a nail-biting second and third.
A failure to create an alliance would lead to greater instability in our economy and our Union with the likely result being a Labour minority government propped up by the Scottish National Party. This could see the results of two referendums overturned; creating more considerable anger and resentment among the 17.4 million.
A somewhat optimistic ComRes poll has indicated that Boris Johnson is the only candidate that could command a majority in Westminster with 37% of the vote, placing the Brexit Party on 14% of the vote, this almost mirrors the result of the 2015 general election.
But how can we be sure this happens by the time the voters go to the polls? What appears more likely is that the vote will split more evenly between the 52%; therefore, the only way to combat the first-past-the-post is to form the mother of all alliances.
This is the only way to prompt the European Union to give us a sensible Free Trade Agreement that will pass through a pro-Brexit Commons and bring some stability to parliamentary proceedings over Brexit, if the EU fails to manoeuvre then we will have the power to leave without a deal. Without a general election and the two parties agreeing to the pact, how can Brexit be adequately delivered?
Despite this, for the Conservative Party, this pact is to do with far more than Brexit. It is to do with the viability of the party for years to come. It is easy to forget that the Conservative Party, and its predecessor, the Tory Party, is one of the oldest parties in political history and likewise one of the most successful ones.
Tory leadership contenders agree that the party must deliver Brexit, and Dominic Raab has gone as far to say that they are ‘toast’ if they fail. This is the best way to guarantee that Brexit is delivered and that the Brexit Party do no significantly dent the vote of the Conservatives.
While Nigel Farage has claimed he would ‘do a deal with the devil’ in order to see the United Kingdom leave the European Union; a pact will allow the Brexit Party to be able to make far more significant gains in the north of England, south Wales and parts of the Midlands.
Farage will be able to dwarf the success of UKIP in 2015 and force the referendum result to be delivered. If this is not the Brexit Party’s goal, I do not know what is. However, unlike the Tories, Farage and the Brexit Party have more to gain if the Tories do not form a pact and subsequently fail to deliver Brexit. The Brexit Party would replace the Tories and have a fighting chance in a future general election.
Therefore, it is essential, sensible and pragmatic for the Brexit Party and the Conservatives to enter an electoral alliance. This will allow Britain to leave the European Union and return stability to Westminster through a Brexiteer majority.
The threat to the country and the Conservative Party is far darker if they ignore the concerns of disgruntled Tories in the south and Labour voters in the north. With Corbyn in Downing Street, in the pocket of the SNP, there will be no Brexit, no future for the Tories, no United Kingdom and no faith in the democratic process.
By J Walters