2018, Part 7, The Swamp

Former BNP MP Nick Griffin hinted at launching a new far-right party

“Looming on the horizon is the rumour that Nick Griffin will try to fill a electoral void by launching a new political party of his own. Griffin is due to speak at a ten year anniversary celebration of his election to the Parliament in St Helens late in September. The meeting was moved from its original location of Blackpool because organisers fear the meeting could be attacked by other fascists. The prospect of Griffin relaunching his political career would cause a stir. People close to him are refusing to deny it is his intention to re-enter politics. Allies of Griffin have registered the "Unity Party" with the Electoral Commission". Griffin’s desire has been emboldened after EDL founder Tommy Robinson has seen success in street level campaigns. Griffin may have once been Britain’s most successful far-right leader but to many former BNP members he is and remains anathema. Many of those who contributed to Griffin’s rise view Griffin's personal failings as the cause of their ostracisation from politics. Griffin’s speech will be an attempt to galvanise those left distraught by their complete and utter demise.”
- Ten Years on from Electoral Success, the BNP has Never Recovered, Hope not Hate (2018)

Whilst the Justice for Grenfell anti-establishment movement grew on the left, a new beast was taking shape on the right to fill the void left by the death of the BNP. Eleven men were arrested or a range of offences at a mass protest march in support of the anti-Islam figurehead Tommy Robinson. Four police officers were injured during protests in which observers estimated drew as many as 10,000 people. Protesters hurled bottles, metal barriers and other objects at police, Scotland Yard said. One man was charged for carrying a knuckle duster; another was arrested for explosives offences. The demonstration came about a fortnight after Robinson was jailed for contempt of court for filming a video outside a trial in Leeds. His conviction came weeks after he drew thousands for a “day for freedom” rally at Buckingham, where he called for freedom of speech. Robinson’s supporters came from around the Commonwealth for the march. They included the FLA, the online “alt-right” movement, as well as elements Ukip and the newer, more extreme, For Britain Movement. Michael Bradley, an organiser with the UAF, described it as a culmination of several months of activity.


Anti-fascist groups were fighting on multiple fronts

“In a key development, anti racists and anti fascists are set to hold a national demonstration against the growth of the far right in Britain. UAF said ‘we are experiencing the biggest rise in support for fascism, the far right, racism and Islamophobia since the 1930s. In Britain fascists and racists are mobilising on a scale not seen for decades. We must unite against this threat. A range of national figures are supporting this national demonstration. We will shortly update with more details’. The demonstration is initiated by Stand Up To Racism, and co-sponsored by Unite Against Fascism. Ex EDL leader, Tommy Robinson has had his court case, for contempt of court, postponed to September 27, a delay of some weeks. Robinson of course is appealing over his jailing for his so-called ‘reporting’ of a sensitive case in Leeds, in May. The national march could not be better timed. Robinson is the key figure head of the far right, in Britain and in parts of Europe. The call out by SUTR has already been met with enthusiasm by many in the movement. In York, anti racists opposed a UKIP/Football Lads Alliance march.”
- All out for national demonstration against racism and fascism, Unite Against Fascism press release (2018)

With the BNP well and truly dead and UKIP in the midst of a civil war, a space had opened up on the far right of British politics, and it was filled by a motley crew of far-right street movements coalesced around the controversial Tommy Robinson. Groups like the Footballs Lads Alliance and For Britain grew out of the corpse of the BNP. Robinson, a racist thug to most, became a hero of the anti-Islamic far right, emboldened by Trump’s success, the British far-right became increasingly more bold, with one poll showing Tommy Robinson would win as much as 5% of the vote if he ran for President.

It wasn’t only in the streets of London that the far right were mobilising. A 14-day protest march organised demanding a referendum of Britain's membership of the EU led by Nigel Farage began. The first leg, organised by the People's Pledge campaign, set off from Sunderland and concluded in Hartlepool. Farage said: "If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we're going to march back and tell them they can't." One counter-protester, Frank Hindle, said he was there "to point out that not everybody agrees with this crowd". As Mr Farage arrived, counter protesters let off a flares, with shouts of "fascists go home". Addressing the crowd the former UKIP leader said: "The will of the people is very clear, we demand a referendum. There were reports of scuffles and angry rows between some marchers and counter-protesters. Some counter protesters carried love hearts saying "we love workers' rights" and "we love migrants", but were branded "EU money grabbers" by marchers. The procession made its way to London in the course of two weeks and culminated in a rally in Parliament Square.


Many suspected Farage would use his nationwide tour to launch a new political party

“UKIP MP Nigel Farage will appear at a rally held by Germany’s far-right party AfD inside a renaissance fortress in Berlin on Friday. The South East MP will appear at the Spandau Citadel in Berlin to talk about “developments in the European Union and direct democracy”. Beatrix von Storch, a granddaughter of Hitler’s finance minister, is a leading member of the party, which has aspirations to enter parliament. Von Storch had been a member of Farage’s group in the EU parliament since being expelled from the more mainstream ECR, she now serves in the German Parliament. In her Facebook post, von Storch said that Farage had been so impressed with the AfD that he had accepted “without hesitation” her invitation. Protesters are planning to organise a counter-rally while Farage is giving his speech. No official demonstration has yet been registered with Berlin police. Farage has criticised German dominance of decision-making in the EU. The AfD complains that the EU dominates decision-making in Germany.”
- Nigel Farage to address far-right rally in Germany, Philip Oltermann, The Guardian (2018)

Whilst UKIP was in trouble, the cause of euroscepticism remained in place, polls showing 66% of Britons wanted to see a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Many within UKIP were suspicious of Farage’s “People’s Pledge” march, several key figures seeing it as laying down foundations for a new party. Pressure was also growing from within the political establishment for a referendum, the Greens had supported a referendum for a long time and senior Cabinet members such as Justice Secretary Barry Gardiner and Trade Secretary Angela Rayner broke ranks to call for a referendum on the EU, now even Labour was feeling the heat.


Home Secretary Keir Starmer was one of the loudest voices against a referendum

Farage’s march came as US Special Counsel Robert Muller announced Farage was a person of interest in the US’ Trump-Russia probe, alongside his close friend and fellow UKIP MP Aaron Banks. The interactions between Arron Banks and Nigel Farage, and the Trump campaign drew the interest of Mueller. Banks made the biggest political gamble of his life by pouring millions into UKIP's campaign from 2011 onwards. The sudden splurge of money made him the Commonwealth's largest political donor. This brought Mr Banks to the attention of figures further afield, including the Russian ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko. Yakovenko was aware of Mr Banks's friendship with Farage, and the two men's deepening ties to Trump’s insurgent presidential bid. Banks and his fellow UKIPer had been invited to attend a fundraiser with Trump in Mississippi. Less than a week after the Yakovenko meeting, Banks and Farage were huddling with the Republican nominee in Mississippi. Banks built a first-name rapport with Yakovenko, exchanging frequent digital communications and personal meetings. At the same time, he and Farage also pursued entry to Trump’s world, according to interviews Banks provided to the investigation.

Farage seemed to defy political gravity, despite multiple links to Russia and accusations of fraud and corruption, he remained one of the most popular figures in the British right. All the Muller investigation did was throw Farage back into the headlines, the civil war in UKIP was put to one side as once again Farage became the star of the show and his personal brand grew. Farage’s personal political power only grew as US President Trump encouraged Farage to run against “weedy” Ed Miliband on Twitter, the establishment became increasingly fearful of the British Trump.

“Donald Trump met Queen Elizabeth at Rideau Hall on Friday. The 92-year-old monarch was forced at one point to walk around the U.S. president after he halted during a ceremonial inspection of the guard. Trump’s visit to Canada was heralded by military bands on his arrival at Rideau, before he and Melania went into the hall for tea with the queen. The U.S. president had earlier praised Queen Elizabeth as a “tremendous woman.” The queen greeted the pair with a smile, although she had earlier glanced at her watch as she waited for their arrival. While inspecting the guard, Elizabeth appeared to give direction to Trump. At one point the president halted and Elizabeth was forced to walk around him. Queen Elizabeth’s tea for the Trumps was due to last 20 minutes according to the White House’s schedule, the last part of their official visit. He arrived at Rideau after a morning spent visiting Canada's Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston. He held talks with Prime Minister Peter MacKay at his country house, Harrington Lake.” - Donald Trump meets Queen Elizabeth at Rideau Hall, CNBC News (2018)


Trump's endorsement of Farage rocked British politics

“Give a case study of a anti-establishment political movement in the Commonwealth 2014-2019 and critically assess its success” (30 Marks) - A Level Politics Exam (2019)
2018, Part 8, Clear Blue Water

Another British citizen dying of Novichok reignited cooling tensions with Russia

“A British woman who was exposed to a nerve agent died on Sunday. This brings new urgency to a four-month standoff in which Britain has accused Russia of sending the poison in a botched attempt to kill a former spy. The British authorities have now opened a murder investigation. “Today is the day we hoped would never come,” said Chief Constable Kier Pritchard of the South West Police. The police say the woman, Dawn Sturgess, was most likely exposed to residue from nerve agent used in a March attack on Sergei Skripal. He lived near Ms. Sturgess in Salisbury. After Mr. Skripal collapsed, British officials declared that Russia was at fault. It was one of a strain of nerve agents known as Novichok that they say is kept under tight control by the Russian authorities. Russia has denied any involvement. In recent months, investigators have said little about the evidence they have gathered and they have named no suspects. And the Skripals recovered, allowing the crime to fall off the front pages. Sturgess’s death is likely to change that.”
- British Woman Poisoned by Novichok Dies, Ellen Barry, New York Times (2018)

The Novichok Russia saga continued after an Amesbury couple collapsed after being exposed to the Russian chemical weapon. Pressure grew on Thornberry and Miliband to take action against Russia, especially in Syria, and a group of Labour legislators, led by former Cabinet Secretaries Rachel Reeves and Liam Byrne, wrote to Thornberry demanding a stronger line on Russia. The letter slammed the Prime Minister for failing to “stand up” to the Russian government after the Salisbury chemical attack. And she took a veiled swipe at President Ed Miliband for Labour’s "failed" non intervention policy in Syria. In a press conference Reeves she attacked her party’s “wrong” response to a Russian regime which had used chemical weapons on British streets. She slammed Green leader Amelia Womack for “casting doubt” on Russia’s responsibility for the poisonings. The Greens refused to condemn Russia for the attacks while evidence pointed to Kremlin involvement. Byrne said: “We must stand against the Russian government and with the people it oppresses. “When we chose not to take strong action against Medvedev we completely failed to live up to our values, and I never want to see us do that again.” Reeves also claimed the party had committed a “serious failure” by not offering an EU referendum.


Reeves became the most senior Labour figure to call on the party to back a referendum

Labour wasn’t the only party having Russia issues, as former Business Secretary Dominic Grieve accused Amber Rudd of preventing the publication of an internal Tory report he had authored on allegations of Russian interference. Dominic Grieve, said intelligence agencies had supported the report’s release ahead of next year's presidential election. “With parliament shortly to be dissolved, we had made arrangements to print and lay the report within an hour of confirmation. This has been a standard process, right up until the point that the parliamentary leader stopped us from publishing.” “I am disappointed, and baffled on why the party has not given a reason why the report cannot be published,” he added. This must not be allowed to happen again. We cannot have a situation in which an internal investigation is not able to share its findings with the party and the wider public. The report was expected to address allegations that Moscow attempted to influence the 2017 election. As well as examine the flow of Russian money into British institutions including the Tories. The report could only be published with the Parliamentary Leader's approval.

A divide on the highest level of British politics was progressively growing within both parties on attitudes to Russia, in Labour the division was between hardline hawks and more conciliatory doves, whereas in the Conservatives it was between those who admired Putin and Menvedev and those who were more critical. Conservatives especially were outraged at Rudd’s refusal to discuss her connections to Russian businessmen, and several MPs criticised the “autocratic” way Rudd and May ran the Tory party, with both parties at each other's throats, the political void continued to grow.

“The populist insurgency sweeping the West reveals a lack of moral purpose among the main political forces. At a time of economic and cultural insecurity, liberal elites continue to look remote and out of touch. More than a decade after the financial crash and in a global context of mass migration, the establishment has no convincing story to tell. Insurgents have torn up the political rule book and even ejected former ruling parties from power, as has happened in Italy. Yet in office, populists are polarising politics and pitting “the people” against the establishment. Neither the establishment nor its challengers seem capable of building support by addressing grievances. A key reason why they struggle to define a strategy for national renewal is their embrace of identity politics. Identity politics focuses on the values of individuals or separate groups rather than on what people share as citizens. By privileging difference over common bonds, it supplants a sense of belonging and shifts the character of politics.” - Politics of the void: how the left abandoned patriotism and the common good, Adrian Pabst, New Statesman (2018)


Both parties had a high level of discontent on the backbenches

Russia wasn’t the only problem Amber Rudd faced as her party’s deputy chief whip was forced to resign in a sexting scandal. Andrew Griffiths resigned after sending text messages of a sexual nature to two female constituents. The contents of the messages were revealed in the Sunday Mirror. Griffiths, MP for Burton, and then Premier Theresa May's chief of staff between 2004 and 2006, told the Mirror he was "ashamed". His behaviour had caused "untold distress" to his wife and family to whom he "owed everything", he said. Griffiths also apologised for the "deep embarrassment" caused to the party, in a statement made to the newspaper. The MP had been following the two women on Snapchat for six months before making contact in June. One 28 year old woman told the Mirror the messages began one evening, after she posted a "racy" video. Griffiths told the barmaid he believed one video in particular had been uploaded "for him to react", she said. Across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, Mr Griffiths reportedly sent more than 1,000 messages in four weeks to multiple women.

Whilst Griffith’s personal failings were not Rudds’ fault, they continued to point towards a lack of leadership and control at the top of the Parliamentary party, especially compared to May’s Senate caucus which managed to stay relatively scandal free (or at least be better at hiding their scandals). Rudd had never been massively popular amongst Tory MPs and she managed to alienate both the moderate Osbornite wing and the more radical eurosceptic wing. With power several years away, the Conservatives had plenty of time to turn on their own, and Rudd appeared in for the chop.


Rudd managed to anger both wings of the Conservative Party

“The demise of Amber Rudd, once seen as a leading candidate for the Presidency, is looking to be swifter than her rapid rise to the top of British politics. And the sexual assault scandal, which has left her reputation in tatters, is just the latest example in graveyard for her political career. Amber Rudd was educated at Edinburgh University before working for investment bankers JP Morgan. She also worked on Richard Curtis' hit 1994 film Four Weddings And A Funeral finding extras to appear in it. She appeared in one of the church scenes herself. In the 1990s she married the writer and restaurant critic AA Gill, who died in 2016, and they had two children. He called her "the Silver Spoon'' in his columns because of her privileged background. After being placed near the top of the South East's electoral list under George Osborne's "A-list" scheme, in 2008 she was elected to Parliament. Soon she became Parliamentary private secretary to the Prime Minister, George Osborne. She was on her way to the top.”
- The fall of Amber Rudd, Jon Craig, Sky News (2018)

The executioner appeared to come in the form of controversial Yorkshire MP and Former Mayor of Bradford, Philip Davies. Davies submitted a letter of no confidence in Amber Rudd to the party, saying he “lost trust” in her ability to deliver a Conservative government. In correspondence with his constituents, the MP for Yorkshire said Rudd's refusal to back leaving the EU was "unacceptable". He warned her leadership could lead Emily Thornberry to win three more years as prime minister. “This has not been an easy decision and I have agonised over it, but I know in my heart of hearts it is the right decision,” Davies said. According to the Yorkshire Post, Davies said: “Politics is all about trust and once it is lost it is impossible to win back. Many people have told me that as a result of this they have lost trust in the leader to deliver. "It is with much sadness that I have to say that I have also lost trust in her to deliver too." He continued: “Failure to listen to the electorate will lead to the catastrophe of Thornberry winning another term. I cannot sit back and allow that to happen. Thus I have come to the conclusion that I have no alternative but to send a letter asking for a vote of no confidence in the party leader."

For a confidence vote to be triggered, Davies would need the signatures of 38 Tory MPs, or 15% of the Parliamentary Party. It didn’t look good for Rudd, the Conservative Party was ruthless, valuing electoral victory above all else, Rudd had come to the leadership promising to unite the party and seize power, she had achieved neither, leaving the party more divided than ever. In a rare display of unity, Tory MPs from the moderate Sarah Wollaston, to the radical Steve Baker, all called for Rudd to go. Now the party waited to see if anyone would wield the knife, and if knives came out, who would end with the crown.

“A YouGov poll of Conservative supporters shows that West Midlands First Minister Sajid Javid has high levels of support and would be in a good place to win a leadership election. With Amber Rudd’s leadership looking tenuous there has been inevitable speculation that Rudd could be ousted as leader of the party. This would mean that the next leader could be decided by around five million Tory party supporters. Last weekend YouGov surveyed 2,000 of them, using the data to analyse their views of eight leading candidates. In both cases the data points towards a new frontrunner for the top job. When we last ran a leadership poll in 2017, just 26% of Conservative party members thought that Javid would make a good Tory leader. Of the 11 potential candidates we asked about he came in ninth. But in our latest research he has leapfrogged most of his competitors, with59% now saying he would make a good leader. This means a third of the party’s supporters has formed a positive opinion of him over the last ten months. So what is driving these high levels of support for Sajid Javid?”
- Why Sajid Javid is currently best placed to be next Conservative leader, Chirs Curtis, YouGov (2018)


West Midlands Premier Sajid Javid was seen to be a front-runner for Rudd's job, other front-runners included Yorkshire MP Rishi Sunak, Scottish MP Ruth Davidson, former Education Secretary Michael Gove and former International Development Secretary Jeremy Hunt

“To what extent was Amber Rudd effective at Conservative Party management? (30 Marks)” - A Level Politics Exam (2018)
2018, Part 9, Purdah

Britain commended the US veto of UN resolution 2467

“It beggars belief that on the very same day Trump is threatening to veto a UN resolution against the use of rape, Amber Rudd is calling on us to honour him with a State Visit. This is a President who has assaulted all the shared values that unite our two countries. Unlike Amber Rudd we are going to stand up to him and object to that behaviour. She has no business calling for us to waste taxpayers’ money on all the pomp, ceremony and policing costs that will come with this visit.” Yet instead of grasping this, the Conservatives bumble on. It is this Labour government that has put human rights, conflict resolution and social justice back at the heart of our foreign policy. It is this Government that is unafraid to stand up to Trump. It is this Government that will seize the opportunity for global leadership that his presidency has offered us. We must seize the opportunity and deal with the crises which Trump’s presidency has presented. That must be one of the defining missions and great success stories of this Labour government.”
- Ed Miliband speaking at a Buckingham press conference (2018)

Tensions between the Miliband and Trump administrations continued to grow as two British Daesh fighters dubbed “The Beatles” were captured by American forces and President Trump announced plans for the pair to face the death penalty. The British government remained opposed to the death penalty and called on the pair to be extradited to Britain- Home Secretary Keir Starmer said. Starmer added that the Commonwealth would "need assurances" over the death penalty. But the Conservatives and UKIP accused the Government of being "soft" on Daesh. The IS suspects were captured in Syria and sent to the US for trial. The pair, from London, were accused of being the last two members of an IS cell dubbed "The Beatles'', which killed Western hostages. After the pair were caught by Kurdish fighters they complained they would not get a fair trial. For years, Britain sought assurances from foreign governments that the death penalty would not be used in cases involving British citizens or British intelligence. In a letter leaked to the Telegraph, UKIP Senator Gerard Batten wrote to President Trump encouraging him to seek the death penalty. During urgent question in the Commons, Home Secretary Keir Starmer said it was not possible to be a "little bit in favour" of the death penalty.


Home Secretary Starmer was a passionate advocate against the death penalty

“Parvais Jabbar and Home Secretary Keir Starmer visited Taiwan on a delegation to continue engagement on the issue of the death penalty. Meetings were held with Taiwan’s Vice-President, the Minister of Justice, and the Foreign Minister. The delegation was timely given that the government has recently broken its moratorium on the death penalty. Discussions focused on Taiwan’s international obligations and the death penalty in the global context. The delegation was coordinated by the British Office in Taipei and continued dialogue begun in previous visits. Secretary Keir said he was keen to "show Britain’s commitment to “international legal standards”. Starmer was the former director of the Death Penalty Project, a campaign to abolish the death penalty across the globe. He is supported on his trip by the British Foreign Office. The Foreign Office said “It is a longstanding policy of the British government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances.”
- DPP returns to Taiwan with British Home Secretary Keir Starmer, Press Release by the Death Penalty Project (2018)

The death penalty had long been a point of contention in British politics, even since being abolished by Roy Jenkins in the 70s. With the Presidential election just round the corner several prospective Conservative candidates such as Boris Johnson and Theresa May loudly voiced their support for Trump and the death penalty, hoping to capture the support of the Conservative’s right-leaning base. On the other side of politics, Home Secretary Keir Starmer continued to boost his standing amongst the liberal-left making a passionate case against the death penalty. The Presidential auditions had officially begun.

Boris Johnson in particular was slowly putting out markers for the Presidency, in particular trying to rile up the anti-Islam elements of the Conservative Party. Johnson was accused of Islamophobia after saying Muslim women wearing burkas looked "like letter boxes". He said he was against bans on face-covering veils in public places, in his Telegraph column, but that it was "ridiculous" people chose to wear them. The Muslim Council of Britain accused him of "pandering to the far right". Labour MP Valerie Vaz said she would report Johnson to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The MCB said the comments were "particularly regrettable in this current climate." The group said that the Tories had shown "little action" to tackle anti-Muslim hate. MCB General Secretary Hassan Joudi called for an inquiry into Islamophobia within the party. The chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Faruk Miah said the article was "anti-Muslim" and would "whip up hatred towards women." "Boris Johnson is a master of the English language - he must understand exactly what effect his language will have. I find it deplorable he chose to write such an article." he said.


Johnson's supporters were compared to Trump's "deplorables"

“There was a time when Conservatives used to split over this or that aspect of an EU treaty; or the practice of monetarism; or the composition of the Lords. Now they argue over whether it is acceptable to sneer at Muslim women in religious dress. O tempora, o mores, as Jacob Rees-Mogg might say. There is depressing bathos in the fact that two cheap gags in Boris Johnson’s Daily Telegraph column about the burqa have caused such a rift. But they have. The Senator refuses to apologise for writing that wearing the veil resembles “a bank robber” and that they look like “letter boxes”. He is now under investigation by his own party, which has received dozens of complaints. According to Rees-Mogg, this inquiry is nothing more than a “show trial”, animated by envy of Johnson’s “many successes and popularity”. Andrew Bridgen, Iain Duncan Smith and other Conservatives have raced to support Johnson. On the other side Andrew Cooper, tweets that “the rottenness of Boris Johnson goes deeper even than his casual racism" and Ruth Davidson MP, has demanded an apology for his “offensive” remarks.”
- Johnson has created a moment more divisive than ‘rivers of blood’, Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian (2018)

Senator Johnson was no stranger to controversial headlines, at the first and only Conservative Premier of London, Johnson had courted the press through extravagant infrastructure projects and irreverent antics. Elected to the Senate in 2015, Johnson had been campaigning for the Presidency ever since. Johnson’s “letterbox” comments were carefully calculated to court the eurosceptic and anti-migrant right of the Conservative Party, whilst he received condemnation from much of the press and establishment, his polling amongst Tory activists continued to rise.


Many Conservative activists saw Johnson as a "British Trump"

Controversy wasn’t only brewing in Westminster, north of the wall Alex Salmond, godfather of the SNP and former Vice-Presidential candidate announced was resigning from the SNP amid sexual misconduct allegations. In a statement he said he wanted to avoid internal division within the SNP, which had faced calls to suspend him. He denied any wrongdoing, and said he intended to apply to rejoin once he had an opportunity to clear his name. Two House of Commons staff members had lodged complaints about Salmond's behaviour when he led the SNP's caucus. Salmond described the allegations as "ridiculous" - and criticised the complaints procedure. In a statement released on social media, Salmond said he had been a member of the SNP for 45 years. He continued: "I love the SNP and the wider independence movement in Scotland. They have been the defining commitment of my life. But today I have written to the National Secretary of the party resigning my membership." Salmond indicated that his resignation was to avoid party divisions, as Sturgeon faced calls to suspend his membership. He stated: "I did not come into politics to help opposition attacks on the SNP. With Parliament returning next week, I have tendered my resignation to remove this line of opposition attack.

Since coming to power in 2014, and propping up the Westminster Government, the SNP had long been divided between supporters of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Whilst a lot of this was on policy ground a lot of the division came between the “soft nationalists” who wanted to use the Commonwealth’s federal structure to slowly work towards independence and the “hard nationalists” who wanted independence as soon as possible. After years of supporting the Miliband Government for seemingly very little gain, Sturgeon was coming under increasing pressure to push for an immediate referendum. These divisions would all explode out into the open with Salmond’s resignation, the SNP was on the brink of civil war and if it fell, it could bring the whole Government down with it.

“The SNP has become the Sorrow of Scotland: an incompetent cabal driven by a divisive and malign ideology. It has implemented destructive policies that have seen vital areas like the economy and education wrecked. It is doing real harm to tens of thousands of Scots, but the callous SNP sees that as a price worth paying to tear apart the Union. The SNP's ever-growing list of failures in government, and its obsession with separation, need to be exposed for what they are. These failures are part of an on-going betrayal of the people of Scotland by a destructive SNP cabal incapable of making good decisions. Make no mistake: these are deliberate political decisions, driven by a toxic ideology that does not care what harm the SNP does to Scotland.” - Scottish Conservatives Press Release (2018)


Salmond's resignation put further pressure on a divided Sturgeon administration

“To what extent does the period before a Presidential Primary influence electoral outcomes (30 Marks)” - A Level Politics Exam (2019)
Closer Look, 2017 South West Parliament Election
The South West had been ruled by Premier Liam Fox since 2004 and First Minister Robert Buckland since 2011. Buckland led an uneasy coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. A former prosecutor, Buckland had run on a "tough-on-crime" platform, including cracking down on domestic violence and banning phones in South West prisons, whilst his authoritarian policies clashed with his liberal partners, it was popular amongst the voting public. This, combined with the collapse of UKIP allowed the South West Tories to pick up 14 seats.

Labour's Ben Bradshaw held the Commonwealth record for longest serving regional party leader, having led the South West Lib Dems since their founding in 1999. An arch-Blairite, Bradshaw took steps to distance himself from the increasingly radical Miliband/Thornberry central campaign. Whilst Bradshaw didn't see the huge surge the Tories saw, he did secure Labour as the South West's second party, with a 5% swing.

Lib Dem leader Wera Hobhouse had been on a journey, initially elected to the South West Parliament as a Conservative in 2002, however she went on to defect to the Liberal Democrats in 2004 in protest of Premier Liam Fox seeking a coalition with UKIP. Over the course of her defective, Hobhouse continued to move towards the left and became one of the South West Liberals most vocal critics of the Conservative/Liberal regional coalition, leading her to be elected party leader. However, despite her opposition to the Tories she agreed to keep the coalition going in order to lock UKIP out of power.

As for the minor parties, the Greens declined in line with the national swing against the party. UKIP nominated far-right Youtuber Carl Benjamin as it's lead candidate, leading several UKIP legislators to defect to the Tories. Benjamin's campaign was a disaster and the party dropped bellow the 4% threshold in several regions, losing 15 legislators. In Cornwall, nationalist party Mebyon Kernow managed to gain 5.9% of the vote in the Cornwall constituency, breaking the 4% threshold and netting it's leader, Dick Cole, a seat in the South West Parliament for the first time in it's history.
2017 South West Parliamentary Election.png

"Ukip has unveiled a man who sent a “rape” tweet to a Labour Senator as its lead candidate for the South West Parliament. William Legge launched the party’s South West campaign alongside Benjamin, a Youtube personality, at a rally in Plymouth. Mr Benjamin prompted controversy after it emerged he tweeted “I wouldn’t even rape you” at Jess Phillips, a Labour Senator. The Ukip candidate yesterday used a press conference to defend his comments. “we should treat women the same as men,” he said. “That means if a woman is being giant b**** and laughing at male suicide, I'm going to be a giant d*** back to her.” Ms Phillips responded on Twitter: “Massive b**** aka feminist woman you can't control. Diddums.” Legge has before defended Mr Benjamin's comments as "satire". He said: "I want to protect people from having their rights infringed upon in regards to freedom of speech by draconian laws." Legge introduced Benjamin by telling the rally “I thought you would enjoy a bit of controversy”." - New UKIP South West Lead Candidate is man who sent 'rape' tweet to Labour Senator, Steven Swinford, The Telegraph
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2018, Part 10, Drawn and Quartered

Europe had destroyed governments before

“While the Conservatives were long seen as divided over Europe, it is Labour’s internal divisions that could play a vital role on the road ahead. Labour’s conference was the scene for a tug-of-war over whether the party should endorse a referendum on Europe. It has put President Ed Miliband in the uncomfortable position of being out of step with many in his caucus. It all throws up important questions about power in the party and the Miliband project, as well as Europe. Since the 1980s, Labour has adopted a pro-European stance. A pocket of eurosceptics remained in the party, but they were insignificant. Some were maverick centrists, like Frank Field and Kate Hoey. The old Bennite left was also hostile to European integration. They saw the EU as a “capitalist club” that would make it difficult for a left-wing Labour government to manage the commanding heights of the economy. Today, Labour’s MPs, supporters and affiliated trade unions are pro-EU and hostile to a referendum. All but about ten Labour MPs have said they would vote to remain in a referendum.”
- Lecture by Tom Quinn, University of Exeter (2018)

Labour faced another devastating split over Europe as veteran MP Frank Field announced he would be resigning from the Labour party. Emily Thornberry was warned that the resignation of Field from the Labour whip over Europe must be treated as a wake-up call. In a blistering letter to Labour’s chief whip, Jo Platt, Field wrote: “It saddens me to say that we are seen as a middle class party.” He added Labour's failure to support an EU referendum prompted his resignation. The MP for the North West was demoted from 16th to 31st place on Labour's North West list in 2017 over his support for Brexit. Field highlighted what he called a “culture of nastiness and bullying”, saying this was ignored by the leadership. Labour’s Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth, said Field’s move was a “serious loss”, which “reflects the deep divisions in the party. "It is a major wake-up call. We cannot afford to lose people of such weight and stature.” With many MPs frustrated with Labour's leftward drift and lack of leadership in Europe, there were growing rumours that several could resign to sit as independents, or even form a breakaway party.


Labour wasn't the only divided party, former Presidential candidate David Cameron had criticised Amber Rudd and Theresa May

“Former Chancellor Chuka Umunna has sought to scotch rumours that he hopes to use his new cross party pressure group "Future Britain" as a platform for launching a new party. "The idea that the Future Britain campaign is a precursor to a new party is complete and utter bollocks,” Umunna told the Guardian. “People need to stop spreading false news about this.” Umunna has been touted as the leader of a group of legislators who are unhappy with Emily Thornberry's leadership. Other leaders in the group, including Chris Leslie, have shared their views and feelings on a WhatsApp group known as the Birthday Club. Umunna’s remarks reflect the fact there is no consensus among disaffected MPs about quitting Labour. He is also under pressure to ensure the centrist pressure group is not weakened by speculation that it represents a Trojan horse. “The Future Britain campaign contains people from all parties and people of no affiliation at all. That’s the reason it has been successful,” Umunna said. “People need to stop speculation that aids and abets Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and others.”
- Chuka Umunna calls rumours of plan for new party 'false news', Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian (2018)

Miliband and Thornberry’s leadership was at war with its own party on several fronts. On one front there were social conservative “old Brownites” like Field, who were frustrated at Labour’s lack of support for a European referendum and its social liberal policies caused by it’s coalition with the Greens. On the liberal right there were allies of former Chancellor Chuka Umunna who were despairing at Britain's growing deficit and Thornberry’s perceived uncontrolled spending. Finally there were those on the hard left like London MP John McDonnell who were angered that after nine years in Government Labour had failed to radically reform the country. With the party pulling in three different directions Miliband and Thornberry were caught in the middle.

Miliband’s chance to reclaim some momentum came when the police named their suspects in the Novichok incident. Two Russian nationals were named as suspects in the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The men were thought to be officers from Russia's military intelligence service, the President said. Scotland Yard and the CPS said there was enough evidence to charge the men. Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok back in March. Police officer Nick Bailey also fell ill after responding to the incident in Salisbury. Police linked the attack to a separate Novichok poisoning in June, when a couple became unwell at a house in Amesbury. Speaking in a press conference Miliband said the government had concluded that the men were part of the GRU intelligence service. The poisoning was "not a rogue operation" and was approved at a senior level of the Russian state, he said. The two suspects, using aliases, travelled on Russian passports. "We must now step up our collective efforts against the GRU," Miliband said.


Tough Ed was back

“Thornberry added: “We were right to act against the Russian state in the way we did. We will not tolerate such barbaric attacks against our country. Together with our allies, this Government will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep our people safe.” Emily Thornberry insisted the use of military nerve agents on the streets of Britain was an “outrage and beyond reckless”. She called on the Russian Government to “give a full account of how this nerve agent came to be used in the Commonwealth”. Amber Rudd, took the Prime Minister to task for her “failing to stop the aggression of the Russian state at the highest level". Angus Robertson for the SNP said the arrest warrants would send a “clear message that we will not tolerate this behaviour from the Russians”. He added: “The threat from Russia must always be met by a united front from. Us all together standing in solidarity against the abuse of power.” The PM thanked Mr Robertson for his “condemnation of the Russian state,” adding: “I only wish such a condemnation might be possible from all parties.” in a dig against UKIP leader William Legge”
- Emily Thornberry pledges to 'step up' efforts against Russia's military spy network after Salisbury attack, Micheal Settle, The Herald (2018)

One thing that united almost all the Labour rebels was a perceived weakness of Miliband’s response to Russia and international terrorism. By taking a tough line Miliband hoped to silence his critics and rally the public around him ahead of the Presidential election. However, if Miliband overstepped he risked losing control of the situation and entering a standoff with Russia he had no guarantee of winning. There was also the risk of his own coalition, the Greens especially were at best anti-war and at worst committed pacifists. Womack especially had spoken out against escalating clashes with Russia, if he went too far the Greens would walk and his Government would collapse.


Green Senator and potential Presidential candidate Sian Berry spoke out against further Russia sanctions

Labour’s confidence and supply colleagues in the SNP were also facing issues, as the Salmond scandal engulfed the party nationalist pressure group “All Under One Banner” launched one of the largest independence marches since the referendum. Tens of thousands of people marched through Edinburgh in support of Scottish independence. A mass rally at Holyrood Park at the end of the march went ahead despite a ban from the body responsible for the park. Historic Environment Scotland had earlier said a rally could not be held as events of a "political nature" are not allowed. All Under One Banner, said they believed over 100,000 took part in the march. Police said the City of Edinburgh Council estimated that there were about 30,000 participants. It was the latest in a series of events across the country which were organised by the political pressure group. AUOB said the turnout proved there was a desire for constitutional change. "The passion is definitely here" a spokesperson said. "The people have spoken. The SNP asked us to speak, well the people have spoken. We've done it all year round." Police Scotland, said one arrest was made in connection with a minor offence during the march. "Both the participants and the wider public are thanked for their patience during today's event," a spokesperson added.

AUOB’s growing strength was seen as testament that the SNP was losing control of the independence movement. Several hardcore nationalists were angered at the SNP for propping up the Westminster government without a referendum and the fall of Salmond only increased this feeling. Senior SNP figures like Keith Brown joined the march against his own Government. A discontent grew amongst the “ultranats” whispers in Holyrood and Westminster began of a new, more radical independence party, free from the Westminster Government and Sturgeon’s caution.

“Leading Nats believe a new party’s presence at Holyrood would allow them to extract commitments from Sturgeon in return for their support. Then there are those who want to see Salmond back at the front. For them, Scotland’s answer to Norma Desmond is the real deal, and his absence is something to be rectified. Under Sturgeon, they argue, the SNP has been run by a tight coterie of allies, excluding those not in the inner circle, and this has led to poor judgements. George Kerevan has criticised the party’s current centrist positioning and called it to “abandon the neoliberal model”. One senior party figure describes the proposed breakaway as “something for the nutters”. There is truth in that – it would be cybernat central. But voters do not like division, and it would be reckless for the independence movement to split apart when it is closer than ever to securing its goal. Ego, jealousy and a lack of patience and self-awareness can be fatal in politics – Sturgeon has her flaws, but those are not among them.” - Why an SNP split would be dangerous for the independence movement, Chris Deerin, New Statesman (2018)


#Readtogo trended on Scottish Twitter

“Using a case study, which Labour caucus was most influential during the Miliband years and why? (30 Marks)” - A Level Politics Exam (2019)
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Jeremy Thornberry
Thornberry is literally going to bed with radical left, I have no doubts the centrists like Umunna are enraged!😜
You get a party split, and you get a party split. Everybody gets a party split!
It’s proportional representation magic, man: it shows the real face of party wings and groups, when arriving first is not more necessary to be elected. The advantage is that every vote counts, so the results are more in line with public opinion. For example ITTl we have an anti-austerity coalition in charge, instead a decade of austerity Conservatorism. The main problem is that we can potentially form a specific party for every single voter, so every party is open to split in way or in an other.
Closer Look, New Statesman Article on Possible Conservative Candidates
Runners and Riders for Tory Presidential Nomination

By Patrick McGuire

After ten years since an open primary, the will of the Tory party is settled on only one thing about the 2019 Primary: it cannot be a coronation.

Tory MPs expect that the race to lead the party will at least begin with a crowded field. The party is divided, with no clear, unifying favourite.

For some a Presidential bid this year could be their last shot at attaining cabinet office, or otherwise prolonging their time at the top table. Both camps in the party's war over the EU will see it as an existential battle.

Here the New Statesman brings you the runners and riders spoken of by Conservative MPs as likely candidates.

The Frontrunners

Senate Opposition Leader Theresa May - 5/1


The Front-runner, as South East Premier for more than 10 years and then Senate Leader, May would be the most experienced candidate in the mix. Her hard line on immigration has defined her public persona. Her most memorable message has been for the Tories to shed their “nasty party” label. An early advocate of Tory modernisation, she has won backers from the party’s liberal wing, Justine Greening and Alan Duncan. For political balance, she is endorsed by social conservative Chris Grayling. Likely to command a broad range of support across the party.

South East Senator Dominic Raab - 11/2


The libertarian, long beloved of hipster Tories. Raab was until recently one of the nearly men of the 2011 intake – a perpetual rising star. Author of the Thatcherite manifesto Britannia Unchained, he would be an ideological candidate. A habitué of the Senate gym, colleagues have described him as impatient. 2011 comments in which he argued that “feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots” have been a gift for Labour. He nonetheless has a strong chance of beating Johnson and Gove to serve as standard bearer for the British Freedom Caucus.

West Midlands First Minister Sajid Javid - 6/1


Another front-runner. A former investment banker, he was groomed for high office by George Osborne. He said he would vote to Remain in an EU referendum, despite cultivating a reputation as a Eurosceptic. He has been willing to take a sledgehammer to traditional conservative policy. He has spoken against the hostile environment approach to immigration and supported legalising cannabis. His iconoclastic streak extends to the economy, where his philosophy is one of libertarianism. A fan of Ayn Rand, he is known to re-read The Fountainhead every year. Much is made of his backstory – Britain’s first BAME President – but detractors point to a thin list of tangible achievements as First Minister. Some MPs cast aspersions about his interpersonal skills.

London Senator Boris Johnson - 6/1


The received wisdom dictates that Johnson would win comfortably among the base. The London Senator's problem, however, is getting support from Westminster colleagues. The breadth and depth of enmity towards Johnson has only grown in the last two years. His personal following remains small (though it has grown). Several MPs have said they would resign the Conservative whip if he became President. Could be hobbled by a split Eurosceptic vote but has received a string of endorsements from Tory MPs of late.

Former Education Secretary Michael Gove - 6/1


The most senior Eurosceptic to have remained loyal to Rudd, Gove would be one of the few candidates who could command support from across the party. His loyalty has inspired loathing among more doctrinaire Eurosceptics. One of the few household names in the mix, but this is no asset: he retains an enduring public unpopularity from his time as education and DWP secretary. Known by colleagues as an incorrigible gossip. He will prove a formidable force if he does run. Allies describe him as “wavering”.

Former International Development Secretary Jeremy Hunt - 7/1


One of the early favourites. He has earned him the respect of colleagues, many of whom say he is the candidate who most looks like a President. Could be hobbled by a reputation for political dilettantism. He spoke out against an EU referendum, but since remade himself as a born-again Eurosceptic. Said Britain could “survive and prosper” outside the EU, but sources close to him deny reports that he would run as the candidate of “managed euroscepticism".

South West Senator Jacob Rees Mogg - 10/1


The Tory Clive Lewis. Beloved of the grassroots but lacking in anything close to government experience. He has denied that he is interested in the job, most often citing the demands of his six children. More likely to serve as a kingmaker for either Johnson or Rabb, both of whom he has suggested would make strong candidates.

Portsmouth Mayor Penny Morduant - 16/1


The dark horse. Mordaunt has somehow managed to avoid publicly backing or disavowing an EU referendum which could harm her appeal. She has had the benefit of a low-risk, mayoral brief that has allowed her to burnish her liberal credentials and pick fights with national leadership. Colleagues have been known to express doubts about whether she has the intellectual capacity for the Presidency. Would be Britain’s first single leader since Edward Heath.

South East Senator Matt Hancock - 24/1


Osborne 2.0? A protege of the former PM, Hancock had appeared destined for political obscurity after Rudd arrived in leadership. Friends say the reliable media performer, who has turned 39, believes this race is a cycle too early. But colleagues nonetheless say he could emerge as a unity candidate and he has the capacity to court MPs. Has urged the party to broaden its appeal, arguing that Tories must sound as if they like the country they seek to govern.

London Senator Jo Johnson - 24/1


Not the Tory equal of the Winkelvoss twins. Jo Johnson — Boris’ younger brother by seven years — is the serious one with the pro-European views. As such, he is at the heart of an important new cabal that could shape the future of Conservative politics and the next Government with it. The air is thick with plots, the spotlight is on the Johnsons.

The Ones to Watch

East Midlands Senator Andrea Leadsom - 25/1

Burst into the public consciousness during the 2015 Senate campaign as one of Theresa May's doughtiest campaigners. Won plaudits for her handling of the Westminster bullying and harassment scandal. She has offered organisation to backbench Eurosceptics without being disloyal to the leadership. Friends say she is still unsure of whether to take the risk.

Anglia Senator Priti Patel - 25/1

Patel was among 28 Tory Leavers threaten to vote against a Tory/Liberal coalition Government in 2017, in the face of gargantuan pressure from colleagues and her party’s leadership. She also publicly flirted with defecting to UKIP in the mid 2010s. She is Nigel Farage’s preferred Tory nominee.

British Army Colonel and Former National Security Adviser Tom Tugendhat - 25/1

Tory MPs opposed to an EU referendum see Britain as adrift in the world and are worried about its foreign policy. Tugendhat, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has the stature as a senior military-intelligence officer and former national security adviser to President Howard to set it right. Europe is in the family for Tugendhat: the son of a retired high-court judge and his French wife, he is a dual British French citizen. His wife is a member of France’s supreme court for administration and his father-in-law is a former senior French diplomat.

South West Senator Geoffery Cox - 25/1

Chair of the Justice Committee, his remit quickly went beyond the legal. Cox was the warm up act for Amber Rudd at the Conservative conference. He wowed the party faithful with a pro-referendum speech memorable for its grand sweep and Rumpolian delivery.

Former Senate President David Davis - 31/1

The maverick. The trajectory Davis’s career has taken is likely to mean he has little chance of winning a contest with a broad field. Ran for President – and lost – in both 1999 and 2004. His best hope this time would be to pitch himself as an interim one term President with a brief to deliver an EU referendum. The presence of other Eurosceptics in the field would make his path to victory almost impassable.

Opposition Leader Amber Rudd - 36/1

Where did it all go wrong for Amber Rudd? Marked out for stardom in the 2008 parliament and emerged as an articulate advocate for the EU. High expectations and a promotion to Parliamentary leader followed, but she failed to bring the Tories back to Downing Street. Ever since failing to reach Government she struggled to hold her caucus together and has been beset by scandals. It looks unlikely that she would be able to win the grassroots. More likely to serve as “kingmaker” for another candidate.

Scottish MP Ruth Davidson - 36/1

Davidson’s meteoric rise has spurred many Tories to look longingly north of the border, wondering if she might be their next President. She’s far from the mould of typical contenders, with no posh schools in her background and a fondness for off-colour jokes, and she’s pregnant and unmarried. Sure, she’s engaged, but her fiance is a woman— after a majority of Conservative members of Parliament voted against gay marriage. One Traffic Light source said “She’s the most un-Tory President the Tories could have.”

The Long Shots

British Army Colonel and Pundit James Cleverly - 36/1

The army man. A popular figure among the Tory grassroots and loyalist Eurosceptic he has made no secret of his desire to one day run for the Presidency. His lack of elected experience and obvious route to victory makes a serious candidacy this time a non-starter. Could nonetheless run to stake a claim to a big job but is more likely to endorse Johnson and seek the Vice-Presidency.

West Midlands Senator Gavin Williamson - 37/1

The amateur Machiavel. Williamson saw out Osborne's premiership at his right hand as parliamentary private secretary. A stint as Senate chief whip followed. Some speculated that he could emulate Edward Heath’s journey from the Whips’ Office to high office, but his star has faded under scrutiny. Has clashed with Theresa May. Colleagues have been known to disparage his reedy Yorkshire accent and past life as a fireplace salesman.

South East Premier Philip Hammond - 40/1

Hammond has announced he could run for the Presidency if none of the other candidates take a pragmatic approach to resolving the EU deadlock. The South East Premier who has attracted the ire of Eurosceptics for his unwillingness to support a EU referendum. He acknowledges that some see him as a “divisive figure” and that a “fresher face” might be better placed to represent his views.

South East Senator Steve Baker - 43/1

Steve Baker has said he will stand for the Presidency if none of the other candidates sign up to a referendum plan drawn up by the eurosceptic British Freedom Caucus. Baker says the next President will face a moment of "death or glory" and must be ready to force a referendum against the will of Parliament.

British Army Major and Pundit Johnny Mercer - 49/1

The Tory supporting pundit has called for “more vision” and “something to vote for” from the party – warning in January that “the window is closing”. He thinks the party is in danger of being too reticent to meet the challenges of the day. “If we don’t perform and we don’t meet those challenges, then Ed Miliband will remain President.”

TV Presenter Ester McVey - 58/1

The unashamed right-winger. A former MP and protege of Iain Duncan Smith. McVey rose to prominence in the 2008 parliament as the remorseless face of the government’s welfare cuts. She lost her seat in 2011 and now is in the world of TV. She signalled last week that she would consider a run, but lacks an obvious constituency of supporters. Considered right wing even by the standards of the Conservatives. MPs joke that her partner Philip Davies, the strident Yorkshire MP would be installed in Buckingham as an éminence grise and “First Lady”.

Anglia Senator Robert Halfon - 58/1

The son of an Italian Jew and “a tribal Conservative,” Halfon has called for "fundamental, radical change.” He thinks the Tories should change their name to the Workers’ party and adopt his ladder as their symbol “instead of that silly cauliflower”. He doesn’t mince his words: in the Sunday Times, he described his party's image as “heartless and cruel”.

- New Statesman, 30th August 2018
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2018 Conservative Presidential Primary, Part 1

Thirteen candidates threw their hat in the ring

“The candidates to become Conservative nominee - have collected tens of thousands of pounds in campaign donations. Parliament's register of interests shows that Theresa May has received far more than the others. Candidates must declare any money that someone might "consider to influence their actions or words as a candidate". The amounts details of donors are published in the Register Financial Interests every two weeks. Since the leadership campaign kicked off, the hopefuls have registered a flurry of direct donations. The vast majority of this money is to fund leadership campaigns, though a small element of each total may be for a local party or other activities. Ms May is way out in front for these kinds of donations, raking in almost a quarter of a million pounds. More than £40,000 of her donations this year has come from machine manufacturer JCB, as well as £10,000 from the company's chairman, Lord Bamford. The biggest single donation to Presidential candidates since the election was from Jonathan Wood who gave Ms May £20,000 last month.”
- Tory primary race: Theresa May raises most donations, BBC News (2018)

The Tory primaries mirrored their Republican sisters in that there was an avalanche of candidates, thirteen in all. The candidates to declare were: Former Senate President David Davis, Former Education Secretary Michael Gove, Former International Development Secretary Jeremy Hunt, West Midlands First Minister Sajid Javid, London Senator Boris Johnson, East Midlands Senator Andrea Leadsom, Senate Opposition Leader Theresa May, South West Senator Jacob Rees-Mogg, Portsmouth Mayor Penny Morduant, Anglian Senator Priti Patel, Opposition Leader Amber Rudd and finally Colonel Tom Tugendhat.


Colonel Tugendhat launched a last minute bid

Several of the campaigns were a non-starter. Right wing Senator Priti Patel was forced to withdraw within a week of declaring due to lack of funds and parliamentary support. Amber Rudd too faced a humiliating departure from the stage as she failed to raise enough money to sustain a viable campaign. Considering just two years ago Rudd had been the Tories’ candidate for Prime Minister, this was a devastating turn of events, she failed to outraise even virtually unknown candidates like Tugendhat and Leadsome. Amber Rudd’s meteoric rise had seen a cataclysmic collapse.

Theresa May quickly took a commanding lead in both endorsements and polling. May had been planning her campaign since Howard’s loss in 2014 and she quickly built up a formidable campaign behind herself. May’s pitch was one of electiblity and experience, she portrayed herself as the best person to bring the Tories warring factions together, and the most qualified to serve as President. May also threw some red meat to the Tory party base promising to crack down on immigration and bring in a “hostile environment” for people in the Commonwealth illegally.

“Conservative Presidential candidate Theresa May said it was important to set net migration at sustainable levels because of the "impact it has on people on the lower end of the income scale." Speaking during an appearance at Senate Questions, Mrs May said: "That's what people want to see from Government." "We are already able to exercise controls in relation to those who come to this country from outside countries within the EU. We continue to believe as a party that it's important to have net migration at sustainable levels. It comes after May's campaign revealed plans for low-skilled migrants to only be allowed to work in Britain for two years. May is also considering a “direct numerical cap” pledge on low-skilled workers. Pundits expect immigration to be a common theme in May's Presidential pitch.” - Theresa May says immigration has depressed wages, Laura Hughes, The Telegraph (2018)


Theresa May focused her campaign on her strict immigration policy

May’s commanding presence in the contest quickly forced smaller candidates out, as the weeks ticked on and major donors began to flock to May, several smaller campaigns failed to make their mark and were forced to withdraw. Tom Tugendhat had run an insurgent “guerrilla” campaign around his experience outside politics in the military, unfortunately for Tugendhat the fact he wasn’t an elected official meant he had few contacts in the higher eselections of business and the media, he failed to garner any attention and quietly suspended his campaign.

Tugendhat wasn’t the only candidate forced out, Leadsome was forced to withdraw after a gaffe when she said that Islamophobia was an “issue for the foreign office” effectively implying that Muslims were foreigners. Labour Senator Naz Shah said she was "shocked" by the response. "To say that Islamophobia here in Britain is a 'foreign office' issue is baffling and alludes to British Muslims as foreigners," she said. "It goes to show how out of touch the Tories are with a problem that their politicians and councillors are exacerbating. Every day Muslims face appalling abuse on the streets and online, and it's time things changed. We need our politicians and society to understand how and why it is so wrong, and that we need to eradicate it in all its forms," she added. Conservative Sayeeda Warsi, responded to Leadsoms' and said "Muslims are errrr British".


Warsi, the most senior Muslim woman in the party, refused to endorse any of the candidates

“The "poison" of Islamophobia is "very widespread" in the Conservative Party but is being “ignored” by Tory leaders, a senior Senator has said. Senator Warsi said the problem was present at all levels of her party. She claimed some of the Tories’ own Presidential campaigns had included anti-Muslim messages. It follows calls for an investigation into Islamophobia in the party. The Independent has before revealed that the MCB has demanded an inquiry into the incidents. This call that was backed by groups representing 300 mosques and Muslim organisations. Senator Warsi is the latest Conservative figure to voice concerns about the issue. She told Business Insider: "It's very widespread. It exists right from the grassroots, all the way up to the top. "It's something that Amber [Rudd] is a part of, but I do believe it is something the leadership feels can be ignored." She claimed Tory leaders are not tackling the problem because "they don't think it is going to damage them." She clarified "the community doesn't vote for them in any great numbers."
- Islamophobia 'very widespread' in Conservative Party, says Senator Warsi, Benjamin Kentish, The Independent (2018)

The Conservative primary quickly became about the gaffes the various candidates made, rather than any substantive debate. The sharks were all circulating looking for blood and the media was taking any chance to thin the herd. Another opportunity came when Portsmouth Mayor Penny Mourdant fraudulently claimed that Turkey would be joining the EU. The Eurosceptic Mayor was accused of “plain and simple lying” over the possibility of Turkey joining the EU. Mordaunt, said Britain “does not” have a veto over the new membership of states such as Turkey – despite it being a key part of the Treaty of the European Union. Tory leader Amber Rudd said Morduant was “wrong” on the matter, and implied her judgement on other matters should be called into question as a result. Mordaunt found herself at the centre of the controversy after she endorsed a controversial campaign poster with the caption: “Turkey is joining the EU”. Asked if she was resorting to “dog whistle” politics, Mordaunt told Marr it was the Government that was resorting to "scaremongering". On Turkey’s chances of joining the EU, she said: “This is our last chance to have a say on this. We’re not going to be consulted on whether those countries should join. Those countries are going to join, it is a matter of when.” After mass humiliation from all political quarters, Morduant too was forced to withdraw, the field of 13 had nearly halved to just eight.

With the churn of unstable campaigns seemingly over and the other eight candidates relatively secure the “proper” contest could begin and all eyes began to turn to the scheduled debate in Nottingham. Whilst May had secured a commanding lead, London Senator Boris Johnson began to climb in the polls. Johnson had been relatively quiet since being elected to the Senate in 2015 and many saw him as a has-been who’s time had come. However Johnson still had a powerful charisma and he was impressive on the campaign trail. Even better from Johnson, US President Trump waded into British primary to endorse Johnson for President. The blonde beast had awoken.

“Boris Johnson has accused Ed Miliband of jeopardising relations with America for telling Trump he is not welcome in Britain. In a move that reinforces Johnson's determination to remain close to Trump, Johnson accused Labour of risking transatlantic ties. After Trump confirmed he would not request a state visit, Sadiq Khan, the London Premier, said the president was not welcome in the city. Johnson tweeted : “The US is the biggest investor in Britain – yet Miliband seems determined to put this crucial relationship at risk. We will not allow US-CB relations to be endangered by some puffed up pompous popinjay in City Hall.” Khan said: “It appears that President Trump got the message. Many Londoners love and admire America but find his policies the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion and diversity. His visit next month would, without doubt, have been met by mass peaceful protests. Populist movements are “playing on people’s worst fears”, Khan is due to tell the Fabian Society’s annual conference.” - Boris Johnson attacks Labour in row over Donald Trump's blocked visit, Peter Walker, The Guardian (2018)


Khan had become a hate figure for the Conservative right, and Johnson wasted no time using that to his advantage

Critically assess the effectiveness of minor Presidential campaigns on British primaries (30 Marks) - A Level Politics Exam (2019)
For me, Theresa May lost any support of mine at the same time as Rudd. Whilst at the time I didn't support him in the OTL leadership election, Boris somehow seems to be the safest and most realistic option.
Thornberry is literally going to bed with radical left, I have no doubts the centrists like Umunna are enraged!😜

It’s proportional representation magic, man: it shows the real face of party wings and groups, when arriving first is not more necessary to be elected. The advantage is that every vote counts, so the results are more in line with public opinion. For example ITTl we have an anti-austerity coalition in charge, instead a decade of austerity Conservatorism. The main problem is that we can potentially form a specific party for every single voter, so every party is open to split in way or in an other.
With PR its odd that people like Field and Hoey are in the Labour Party Neither are centrists both are quite hard right, especially Hoey who should be in a Nationalist/Fascist Party.
With PR its odd that people like Field and Hoey are in the Labour Party Neither are centrists both are quite hard right, especially Hoey who should be in a Nationalist/Fascist Party.
I suspect that a long-term trend in PR would be people who, under FPTP, would've gone into Labour or the Conservatives instead heading into other parties, rather than existing MPs immediately jumping ship. (Especially in Labour, those who are still in it do have a huge loyalty to the brand, so to speak.)