Nigel Farage’s Brexit party saved Labour seats in 2019 election, analysis finds

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Nigel Farage’s Brexit enactment whitethorn person saved up to 25 Labour seats successful the Midlands and the northbound astatine the 2019 wide election, denying Boris Johnson a landslide bulk of 130, according to caller analysis.

Farage’s enactment failed to triumph a azygous spot successful December 2019 arsenic Boris Johnson sought to hammer location the connection that the Conservatives would “get Brexit done”.

But elections experts John Curtice, Stephen Fisher and Patrick English accidental that by attracting Leave-supporting erstwhile Labour voters who mightiness different person backed the Conservatives, Farage whitethorn person importantly chopped the standard of Labour’s defeat.

By modelling the behaviour of Labour Leavers elsewhere, they suggest that successful the lack of a Brexit party candidate, 70% would apt person turned to the Tories and 30% stuck with Labour. Meanwhile, Conservative voters who switched to Farage’s enactment were apt to person voted for Johnson.

“As a result, the Brexit enactment whitethorn person outgo the Conservatives astir 25 of the seats that Labour managed to clasp – astir of them Leave-voting seats successful the northbound of England and the Midlands – and thereby enabled Labour to debar an adjacent heavier nonaccomplishment of seats,” they accidental successful a caller book, The British General Election of 2019, published connected Tuesday.

Labour’s show was already its worst successful presumption of seats won since 1935, prompting Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation aft a chaotic campaign. The Brexit enactment stood its astir salient candidate, Richard Tice, successful Labour-held Hartlepool wherever helium took much than 10,000 votes but came successful down Labour and the Conservatives. The spot fell to the Tories successful a byelection this year, raising questions astir Keir Starmer’s quality to triumph backmost the alleged reddish wall.

Farage repeatedly sought an electoral pact with Johnson’s Conservatives successful 2019, offering to basal speech successful Tory-held seats successful speech for a escaped tally successful erstwhile Labour heartlands constituencies.

With nary woody forthcoming, helium unilaterally decided not to tract candidates successful seats wherever determination was an incumbent Tory MP. This determination had little of an effect connected the UK-wide result, the authors accidental – but it did person an interaction successful a fewer cardinal seats that the Tories lone narrowly held.

“There was conscionable a fistful of seats wherever the determination of the Brexit enactment to basal down mightiness person helped debar a Conservative defeat, though they see the seats of 2 salient Brexiters, Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford & Wood Green) and Dominic Raab (Esher & Walton).” The Liberal Democrats are heavily targeting Raab’s Surrey constituency, which helium held by conscionable 2,700 votes.

Edited by academics Tim Bale, Robert Ford, Will Jennings and Paula Surridge, the caller publication is the latest variation of what is wide viewed arsenic the definitive world usher to wide elections, with the archetypal variation published successful the aftermath of Labour’s landslide triumph successful 1945.

By analysing constituency-by-constituency results, and responses to the British Election Study net panel, covering 30,000 voters, Curtice, Fisher and English amusement that Brexit heavy skewed the result successful contests close crossed the country.

“The Conservatives’ stock of the ballot accrued by astir six [percentage] points connected 2017 successful seats that are estimated to person backed Leave astir heavy successful 2016, portion the party’s ballot fell by a mates of points successful constituencies wherever astir had voted Remain,” they say.

By contrast, they add: “While Labour’s ballot fell by six points wherever astir voters had backed Remain, it dropped by astir 9 points wherever a bulk had supported Leave.”

They accidental this signifier was “disruptive of overmuch of the existing geography of enactment support” truthful that “all of Britain’s parties often recorded immoderate of their champion performances successful comparatively unfamiliar territory” – including the Conservatives’ advances successful the North and Midlands.