The face of Labour's In campaign? Photo: Getty Images
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Labour's next split: the referendum

Labour may soon find itself just as riven by Europe as the Conservative Party.

Chuka Umunna has called on Labour to be part of a "broad, grassroots campaign" to keep Britain in the European Union, warning that a narrow campaign would see the party and the In campaign cast as "a cosy club of established political parties and big businessess".

The remarks come after Alistair Darling, the former Labour Chancellor and head of Better Together, the cross-party campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, slapped down Andy Burnham's suggestion that the cross-party campaign for the Union was responsible for Scottish Labour's travails. 

"That explanation doesn’t explain why we were trounced in 2011 or why we lost in 2007," Darling tells the Times, "The Scottish Labour party’s problems are greater than that. Never forget we won the referendum.”

Labour's shadow business secretary and former leadership candidate set out his ideas for how the referendum campaign should be fought and won in an interview with Progress magazine. He also shed further light on why he - along with his campaign lieutenants - opted to endorse Liz Kendall's campaign for the leadership

"She has asked all the questions, she has made the arguments that I would have made if I was still in the contest," Umunna said. The MP for Streatham believes that the "three challenges" Labour must tackle are: "how do you deliver good public services in a fiscally cold climate; secondly, how do you harness all of the energy that technological change is bringing to create opportunities when that technology is destroying jobs people have done for generations; and thirdly, how do we pay our way in the world?" Kendall, Umunna, believes, "has started to map out the answers in a fearless way, a courageous way."

But it is the question of Europe and how to respond to it that may come to dominate Labour's thinking over the coming months.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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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