An Electoral Nuke Could Be Heading Straight For UK’s Conservative Party

Conservative and right-leaning parties appear to be headed for a substantial loss in the United Kingdom’s parliamentary elections on Thursday.

Two major parties — the left-wing Labour Party led by Keir Starmer and the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — and a handful of other parties are set to face off in the U.K.’s snap elections on Thursday to determine the makeup of Parliament and the next prime minister. But polling suggests that the Labour Party is set to surge to the top and trounce the Conservative Party, ousting Sunak from his role and pushing the right wing out of power, according to multiple sources.

“It’s obviously been extremely difficult,” Steve Baker, a Conservative lawmaker in the U.K., told The Wall Street Journal.

A YouGov MRP poll on Wednesday predicts that Starmer’s Labour Party will win 431 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, over 100 more than is needed to seize the absolute majority in the chamber, according to CBS News. Sunak’s Conservative Party is expected to win only 102 seats, representing a 233-seat loss from what it currently retains, according to the poll.

Conservative voters could cast their ballots for the right-wing reform party, led by Nigel Farage, instead, but this may be in vain as the party is expected to only win 6 seats in the elections on Thursday, according to the poll. Farage has long been a figurehead among right-wing circles in the U.K. and said he wants to seize control of the Conservative Party after the election, according to the WSJ.

Should the Labour Party win and seize an absolute majority, it would be the first time in over 14 years that the Conservative Party would be out of power, according to Politico EU. Though the election is not to directly elect the next prime minister, any party that wins would put their leader in that role by default, meaning that Sunak is likely to exit power after roughly two years.

Sunak — who called for the snap elections in May — has been traveling around the U.K. hosting campaign and townhall events in recent weeks, though it has done little to change the seemingly inevitable loss for the Conservative Party. Sunak suffers from the worst disapproval rating of any prime minister to be re-elected in the last five decades, despite his stance that a victory is “not a forgone conclusion,” according to the WSJ.

“[Sunak] is traveling around the country getting whacked,” Andrew Cooper, a Conservative member of the House of Lords and a pollster, told The Wall Street Journal. “If this was a boxing match, they’d have called it off by now.”

Part of the shift in voters’ calculus may be that the U.K. could simply be ready for a change; none of the country’s political parties have won a fifth consecutive term, which would be the case for the Conservative Party if it pulled off an unlikely victory, according to the WSJ. And despite successes in lowering unemployment and crime, issues like illegal immigration, national debt and homelessness have skyrocketed in the U.K. since the Conservative Party took power 14 years ago, according to The New York Times.

The Conservative Party has long promised to reduce migration, but millions of foreign nationals have immigrated to the U.K., since the party took power over a decade ago, with over 1.2 million migrants coming to the country in 2023 alone, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In its “2024 Manifesto,” the Labour Party promises that it will bring economic stability, pour into infrastructure projects, focus on green energy initiatives and reform the U.K.’s immigration system. Starmer, while described as boring by British media, is set to become to new Prime Minister, according to The Washington Post.

Farage’s Reform Party has made both legal and illegal immigration a key issue heading into Thursday’s election. The party promises to freeze non-essential immigration days of taking power and detain all illegal immigrants within the first 100 days of taking power.

“I changed the Labour Party, and now I’m ready to change Britain,” Starmer said in a statement on Monday. “Together we can stop the chaos, turn the page and start to rebuild.”

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