Where Should the Brexit Party Target?

Today’s Financial Times splash focuses on rumours that the Brexit Party is preparing not to stand in hundreds of constituencies. The party is polling in low double-digits, meaning they are unlikely to win a single seat, yet it is enough to split the vote and let Remainers pip the Tories to the post, as we saw in the Brecon by-election. The Brexit Party risks preventing exactly what they were founded to deliver if they run a national slate…

Yesterday, senior party figure John Longworth MEP urged his party to focus on just “20 or 30” seats to allow a Brexiteer majority in Parliament. Guido has compiled a helpful list for Nigel of where he might want to focus:

  • Kingston upon Hull East – 72% Leave
  • Doncaster North – 71% Leave
  • Barnsley East – 71% Leave
  • Bolsover – 70% Leave
  • Wentworth and Dearne – 70% Leave
  • Hartlepool – 69% Leave
  • Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford – 69% Leave
  • Don Valley – 68% Leave
  • Rotherham – 68% Leave
  • Barnsley Central – 68% Leave
  • West Bromwich East – 68% Leave
  • Wolverhampton South East – 68% Leave
  • Hemsworth – 68% Leave
  • Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle – 68% Leave
  • Redcar – 67% Leave
  • Doncaster Central – 66% Leave
  • Burnley – 66% Leave
  • Stockton North – 66% Leave
  • Sheffield South East – 66% Leave
  • Middlesbrough – 66% Leave

UKIP historically failed to win Westminster seats because it spread resources thinly. Unlike in European elections the relentless electoral logic of first-past-the-post constituencies means a 5-Star Movement type breakthrough will not happen in Britain.  A laser-like focus on favourable seats with the limited resources and manpower available is the strategy most likely to reap rewards. A broad, thinly spread national campaign will simply result in a lot of lost deposits. Guido’s worried the Brexit Party will kill the best and perhaps last chance to leave the EU.

Tories sympathetic to Nigel have seen the polling research that shows that a Tory-Brexit Party pact will lose more Tory votes to the LibDems than it will gain from Brexit Party loyalists. The first rule of politics is to learn to count…


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