July 21, 2024

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Could the Lib Dems become the official opposition?

2 min read

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Good morning. The Reform party launched its manifesto yesterday promising almost £90bn in tax cuts — a sum that raises questions such as “seriously, why stop there? Why not £180bn?”

But, of course, part of the point of Reform is that it is a way for some Conservative voters to vote for a party on the right without having to sully themselves with tricky questions about how the sums will add up.

Although no poll shows Reform getting close to gaining a significant numbers of seats, every poll taken since Nigel Farage chose to enter the campaign and since Rishi Sunak’s D-Day gaffe shows the Tory party in deep, deep trouble. Beforehand, the Conservative party was “just” on course for a crushing defeat. Now, the polls all show Reform doing well enough that the Conservative party’s grip on second place in the House of Commons is, at best, up for grabs.

Some thoughts on what might happen next below.

Inside Politics is edited by Harvey Nriapia today. Read the previous edition of the newsletter here. Please send gossip, thoughts and feedback to insidepolitics@ft.com

Yellow brick road

The big picture in this election is this: the polls are really, really, really bad for the Conservative party and we have no reason to believe that they are wrong besides a small margin of error. Although the Tory party had outperformed its opinion poll rating a little bit in the local elections, it has not done so enough to change the overall story.

In addition, a good rule of thumb is to remember that even when the polls are wrong, they tend to pick up the relative dynamic between the parties (even if they don’t get the exact levels of support right). We should be confident that the increased support for Reform and the Liberal Democrats we have seen…

2024-06-18 04:30:27

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