Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on Labour's campaigning, immigration tactics and Brown at Chilc

1. Counting Labour's comeback

Left Foot Forward has seen internal Labour campaigning numbers which show that activists have spoken to 655,000 voters in 2010. This could equate to 57,000 extra votes, crucial in a campaign where Labour will be defending 20 seats with majorities of below 1,000.

2. CCHQ approves strong immigration message for campaigning

ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie says David Cameron has agreed to allow immigration to become a central theme of campaigning, especially in target seats. The language will be tougher, too.

3. YouGov points to disproportionate swing in Wales

A new YouGov poll of Westminster voting intentions in Wales points to a 6.6 per cent swing to the Tories since the May 2005 general election, notes Mike Smithson on PoliticalBetting.

4. Defeat, where is thy sting?

"While I didn't win, I've come out of the Gateshead selection incredibly upbeat." Hopi Sen on his failed attempt to become a PPC.

5. Brown rattles off the numerical artillery

Did Gordon Brown give the MoD enough money to fight the Iraq war? Gary Gibbon, watching the PM's performance at the Chilcot inquiry, says "Brown rattled off figures at a rate that had the stenographer truly taxed".

Sign up now to CommentPlus for the pick of the day's opinion, comment and analysis in your inbox at 8am.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

0800 7318496