Morning Call: pick of the papers

Ten must-read pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Those who want out of the EU are raising a glass to themselves to soon (Observer)

The forces that will defend the idea of Britain staying in the EU are formidable. They just haven't woken up yet, writes Andrew Rawnsley.

2. A Frankenstein moment for Cameron as he squares up to his monster (Mail on Sunday)

There will be divisions in the Prime Minister's team about the best response to the Leveson report, notes James Forsyth.

3. A tough new Labour party emerges - on the ground (Observer)

Nick Cohen has watched Labour councils dealing with austerity and is encouraged.

4. I see on last, faint hope for a truly free British press (Sunday Telegraph)

Matthew D'Ancona thinks the Prime Minister should give the press one last chance before imposing statutory regulation.

5. Why Dave doesn't give a hoot about the EU budget (Independent on Sunday)

Downing Street's insouciance matches the mood of the nation, says John Rentoul.

6. Where is Africa's share of the spoils (Independent on Sunday)

Vince Cable wants to bring more transparency to resource extraction industries in Africa.

7. Growing gulf divides the two Europes (Independent on Sunday)

North v South; Eurozonve v the rest - the real problem for the EU is economic divergence, says Hamish McRae.

8. Why, as a journalist and ex-editor, I believe it is time to regulate the press (Observer)

Will Hutton isn't impressed by special pleading dressed up as free speech crusading by the press ahead of the Leveson report.

9. Houdini Dave can slip the Leveson trap (Sunday Times)

Special pleading dressed up as free speech crusading ahead of the Leveson report, by Martin Ivens.

10. Osborne needs to end the economic drift (Sunday Times)

Leading article, containing facile economic prescriptions, noteworthy only for snarky tone: the government are so rubbish it makes Labour look good.


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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