A prominent Conservative Member of Parliament has called on his party to consider an electoral alliance with the surging Brexit Party as a means to see off oblivion for the movement, and to deliver Brexit for the British people.
The comments by former soldier, defence select committee member, and foreign affairs select committee chair Crispin Blunt come after a series of polls showed sustained growth of support for the Brexit party.
While European Union elections have long been seen as a safe place for mid-term protest votes to take place by the political establishment in the United Kingdom, polling showing that the month-old Brexit Party is now beating the Conservatives in even general election polling has sent shockwaves through Westminster.
“We're in deep trouble, but if we, under a new leader, reinvent ourselves properly, as a Brexit party… We'll be in a position to enthusiastically support leaving the EU with ‘no deal’” @CrispinBlunt #StandUp4Brexit #SayNo2BRINO #NoConfidence pic.twitter.com/28yDFSO8ao
— #StandUp4Brexit (@StandUp4Brexit) May 14, 2019
Seeing his party as failing to deliver its core manifesto pledges and being potentially punished at the polls as a result, veteran MP Blunt took to British television to say the party had to reinvent itself as one of Brexit. Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight, Blunt said it was time for the Conservatives to reinvent themselves in the face of changing demands from the public over what they want out of politics. He said:
At one point, the Prime Minister will be replaced. I cannot imagine for one minute that Theresa May is going to want to go to the next Conservative Party conference in October and address it as leader.
I accept of course we’re in deep trouble and deep difficulty. But if we, under a new leader, reinvent ourselves properly as a Brexit party, we will be faced with the inevitability at some point of a general election in order to deliver Brexit because this parliament is stopping the delivery of Brexit.
Despite the hope for clawing back support by making it explicit that the Conservative party supports the democratic will of the British people — something apparently unclear under the leadership of Theresa May — Blunt seemed to also accept that much of the damage was already done. Although it was not clear what it might entail, the veteran Tory said it would be necessary for his party to do a deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, saying:
…in my judgment, we are going to have to come to an accommodation with the Brexit Party.
The Conservatives as a Brexit party, being very clear about their objectives are almost certainly going to have to go into some kind of electoral arrangement with the Brexit Party, otherwise Brexit doesn’t happen.
Blunt’s outspoken remarks about the future of his own party have been met with some distaste, with The Times reporting unnamed Conservative members of Parliament who said they would abandon the party if it took support from the Brexit Party in a future Parliament to deliver Brexit.
Nigel Farage had said just hours earlier that he was willing to do a “deal with the devil” — meaning giving political support to the Conservative or Labour parties — if they’d deliver a full Brexit, admittedly an unlikely scenario in both cases as the parties presently stand.
Brexit Leader Farage Warns Anger at Establishment Betrayal Putting People Off Voting https://t.co/h9jYRIT5Qa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 14, 2019
Recent polling may have sharpened minds among senior Conservatives when in unprecedented figures released by pollster ComRes, the Tory party was shown to be lagging behind the Brexit Party by one point in a poll for the Westminster Parliament.
The most recently released general election poll comes from Kantar, and gives the Brexit Party 10 per cent — despite the fact the party didn’t even appear on the poll. The research only gave options for more established political parties, but despite that, the Brexit Party’s name was written in by enough respondents to put it again of UKIP, the Scottish Nationalists, the Green party, and Plaid Cymru.