Britain polarised politics putting off voters, poll reveals - GulfToday

Britain polarised politics putting off voters, poll reveals


An anti-Brexit campaigner, dressed as Boris Johnson, takes part in the March for Change ‘No to Boris:Yes to Europe’ demonstration in London. Agence France-Presse

A majority of Britons feel politically homeless amid growing dissatisfaction from voters with the established parties, a new poll has revealed.

The exclusive study for The Independent found 53 per cent of the public did not feel represented by any political party, as the Tories prepare for a Boris Johnson premiership and with Labour split over Brexit and antisemitism.

Despite the failure of Change UK to mount a centrist fightback, the new poll by BMG shows there could still be significant gains to be made in the centre ground.

The defections of Tory and Labour MPs to form the breakaway party earlier this year sparked excitement for hopeful Remainers.

But Change UK’s poor performance in May’s European elections slammed the brakes on its plans, while the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party snatched votes from Labour and the Tories.

The poll asked a representative sample of more than 1,500 people: “To what extent, if at all, do you feel that any of the current political parties in the UK represent your views?” Only a third (32 per cent) said they felt their views were adequately represented, while 15 per cent of respondents said they did not know.

The findings come as Mr Johnson is poised for victory in the Conservative leadership contest, with Theresa May expected to leave Downing Street on Wednesday.

The former foreign secretary has taken an increasingly hardline stance on Brexit, including refusing to rule out suspending parliament to force through a no-deal exit on 31 October.

But Mr Johnson will be tasked with uniting his divided party while fighting a series of looming Brexit battles in the autumn, with the chancellor Philip Hammond expected to act as a focal point for senior Tories determined to stop a disorderly Brexit.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn is embroiled in another bout of controversy over his handling of antisemitism complaints by party officials.

Labour peers are expected to mount a confidence vote against Mr Corbyn, which comes after the party’s deputy leader in the Lords was sacked for comparing the mentality in the leader’s office to the “last days of Hitler”.

The poll also found the Brexit Party surge was fading in the wake of its European election success in May, with support dropping four points to 14 per cent if a general election was held today.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour were on 28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, with the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent.

Boris Johnson will plunge the Tory party into opposition for “an awfully long time” if he carries out a no-deal Brexit, a government minister says.

Tobias Ellwood also warned the near-certain next prime minister he would be “crawling back to the table”, begging the EU for an agreement, if he crashed the UK out of the EU in October.

The comments appear to ensure the defence minister will follow chancellor Philip Hammond out of the government if Mr Johnson wins the Tory leadership race on Tuesday.

Ellwood ducked repeated questions about his future, but attacked the claims that the UK could prosper if it tried to “run away from the EU”.

Speaking on Sky News, he ridiculed the idea that “we are able to land man on the moon 50 years ago but we can’t sort out the Northern Ireland backstop”, insisting: “We can.” Mr Ellwood added: “If we don’t do that than the Conservative party could be destined to be in opposition for an awfully long time.

“And that is the danger that I hope every one of my colleagues will wake up to – and of course the next prime minister too.” The attack came as Mr Hammond revealed he would walk out even before Mr Johnson reaches No 10, saying: “I intend to resign after prime minister’s questions, before the prime minister goes to the Palace.” David Gauke, the justice Secretary – another no-deal opponent – revealed he would also quit on Wednesday if Mr Johnson is the winner of the contest.

Other pro-EU cabinet ministers – such as de-facto deputy prime minister David Lidington and Greg Clark, the business secretary – are also expected to be sacked, or to quit.

Keir Starmer said Labour would seek immediate talks with the departed ministers in the hope of building a cross-party alliance to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Mr Ellwood said: “I want us to move away from discussion about no-deal at all.

The Independent