Election 2010 Lookahead: Tuesday 4 May

The who, when and where of the campaign.

With two days to go, here is what is happening on the campaign trail today:

Labour

A quiet day for Labour -- though an interview with Alistair Darling was broadcast early this morning (see below).

 

Conservatives

David Cameron will begin a 24-hour campaign through to Wednesday today, travelling throughout the night to meet fishermen, bakers and florists working early mornings.

 

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg will host a press conference at the Work Foundation in London early this morning (7.30am).

 

The media

Continuing with its themed election debates, BBC2's The Daily Politics: 2010 Election Debates will feature a live debate on immigration policy between Phil Woolas for Labour, Damian Green for the Conservatives, Tom Brake for the Lib Dems and Lord Pearson for Ukip. Andrew Neil and the BBC's home editor, Mark Easton, will be asking the questions (2.15pm).

BBC1 Northern Ireland and BBC Parliament will broadcast The NI Leaders' Debate, with the leaders of Northern Ireland's four main political parties facing questions from a studio audience (9pm). Over on ITV1, Campaign 2010 with Jonathan Dimbleby will discuss the most recent election events (10.35pm). If you're extra keen, you can also check out BBC News Channel's Straight Talk on iPlayer (broadcast at 3.30am today), in which Andrew Neil interviews Alistair Darling.

 

Away from the campaign

OK, so technically this one is still about the election . . . A trio of new crisp flavours reflecting the public's view of the three main political parties is to go on sale at Selfridges today ahead of the general election. Flavours are based on a poll asking members of the public which tastes they most associate with each party. New flavours are Cameron Crunchies" (Eton Mess), Gourmet Gordons (scotch egg and brown sauce) and Clegg's Cocktail (hummus and roast vegetables).

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

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