How UKIP could stop Labour winning in 2015

4th October, 2014 5:03 pm


A new Fabian Society report highlights the dangers UKIP will pose to Labour at the next election. It finds that the outcome of over 200 seats could be affected by UKIP in May next year, potentially costing Labour victory.

Revolt on the Left, written by the Fabians’ Deputy General Secretary Marcus Roberts and published yesterday, builds on the research of Ian Warren (who writes on psephology at the @election_data blog) and Rob Ford (co-author of Revolt on the Right) to look at which seats could be specifically affected, what certain Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) are doing to deal with threat, and how Labour can tackle it nationally.

Roberts outlines five Labour seats at threat from UKIP, 16 seats that Labour could lose to the Conservatives because of UKIP, and four target seats that Labour could be prevented from gaining off the Tories. All of these prospects are rated as “critical or very serious”. These do not include the swathes of seats rated at “moderate” danger from UKIP.

The five seats UKIP could take from Labour: Great Grimsby, Dudley North, Plymouth Moor View, Rother Valley, Rotherham.

The sixteen seats Labour could lose to the Tories because of UKIP switchers: Southampton Itchen, Great Grimsby, Walsall North, Plymouth Moor View, Telford, Dudley North, Halifax, Wolverhampton North East, Birmingham Edgbaston, Blackpool South, Walsall South, Leicester West, Nottingham South, Southampton Test, Birmingham Northfield, Wakefield.

The four seats Labour could fail to gain from the Tories because of UKIP switchers: Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Carlisle, Lincoln and Ipswich.

This report is among the first to look closely at the indirect effect UKIP could have next year – something that has been largely overlooked in many analyses of the UKIP threat. Many assessments of the right wing party that dismiss the level of its impact seem to place too great an emphasis on the difficulty UKIP will have to win seats in the First Past The Post system, and the likelihood that its support will drop from current polls. While both of these things may be true, the role a smaller party can play in shaping an election result without winning should not be ignored.

The problems caused for the Tories by UKIP are not ignored either (the report concludes that seats where the Tories are hit outnumber Labour ones by around 30), but it does serve as a corrective to much of the media discussion on the topic that focuses largely on the problems Cameron faces from Farage.

Roberts looks at where the UKIP problems lie, who the voters are, and why the it has occurred – but does not stop at analysing the situation, moving on to suggest Labour’s response in three areas: policy, message and organisation. While his suggestions in these areas may well prove useful in the long-term, in the more immediate future what we can hope to gain from this publication is a consensus that the threat exists. As the introduction states:

“For every academic detailing the psephology by which UKIP threatens Labour, an unnamed senior party source can quickly be found in the media confidently prediction that UKIP will divide the right, and help Labour to victory.”

The ‘unnamed senior party sources’ are not alone – when LabourList surveyed readers back in August, 48% may have felt that UKIP would harm the Labour vote, but almost as many (44%) thought that they would not.

You can read the full Revolt on the Left report here.

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  • MoreLeftThanYou

    Labour policies to date have ensured that the left will not be galvanised into action. The policies are just too centrist, mild, ineffective, unimaginative and boring. That makes it hard to win so the big idea appears to be relying on the Tories and UKIP to lose the election by splitting the vote. Not clever but it is a mild, ineffective, unimaginative and boring strategy so it suits the party very well.

    • Doug Smith

      “The policies are just too centrist”

      Or, to be frank, too Tory.

      The dominant Progress faction may be having multiple orgasms over the Labour Party adopting Tory policies but as far as most Labour Party voters are concerned Tory policies don’t hit the spot.

      For many, UKIP will be the protest option.

    • Quiet_Sceptic

      The few bold policies which do get through, like the 200,000 per year house building target then get nobbled when it’s declared there’s no additional funding available.

      Investing in housing is probably the most solid investment government could make, almost guaranteed to return assets worth around, or even more, than the money invested while generating lots of economic activity, tax revenue and alleviating our housing shortage.

      If Labour can’t even stand up and make the case for borrowing to fund rock-solid public investment like that, what can you say?

      • MoreLeftThanYou

        Exactly. Massive house building would also ease pressure on rents and in some cases transfer payments of housing benefit from landlords to the owners of social housing.

  • Daniel Speight

    Even the academics at the Fabians know that something is wrong with Labour’s election strategy, and remember these people don’t usually know what’s wrong until after it’s happened.

    Douglas Alexander’s Progress ‘limited offer’ to the electorate isn’t working because with an electorate whose perceptions of the Westminster political class is already dismal, a ‘limited offer’ doesn’t differentiate the party from the coalition.

    Still not much point in looking to the Fabians for an answer. The best we get is –

    Labour should shift its campaigners efforts to community campaigning on local issues like pay day loan and betting shops, litter picks and night safety campaigns that reconnect Labour with the local community, demonstrate how change can happen, and help restore trust in politics.

    Is that what we get for having Arnie around? Picking up litter? I’m sure it’s important, but is this how we defeat UKIP and the Tories?

    They do fit another list of suggestions which basically ape UKIP’s policies bar offering an EU referendum. Sorry this is not going to work. It looks contrived and the public isn’t as stupid as politicians sometimes seem to believe.

    I guess the Fabians will have to go back to hand-wringing in Hampstead.

    • gunnerbear

      “Westminster political class is already dismal, a ‘limited offer’ doesn’t differentiate the party from the coalition.” – Top Notch observation – hence my firm choice to be NOTA.

  • carlton temple-powell

    The UKIP vote comes from two groups of people. The first group, the Thatcherite right-wing Tories who resent paying tax, any tax, and hate the state, any state. be it the UK or the EU. The second group being made up of disgruntled and misinformed voters who feel alienated from the main political parties in Westminster but who don’t yet realise that UKIP is itself a part of the Westminster crowd, being, as it is, a Conservative party splinter group. The fact that Tories MPs can easily defect to UKIP but Labour and Liberal MPs could never defect to UKIP tells us that UKIP is just another version of the Conservative party. So, the way to deal with UKIP is to let the pubic see that UKIP is TORY as TORY is UKIP. Once the public are better informed about UKIPs Tory mantel, it can then make a more informed choice.

    • treborc1

      Who cares more people will be sitting at home then voting, and those that vote UKIP will do in protest of the Progress party and the Tory party. love feast

  • David Lewis

    The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%.


    YouGov poll tonight has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%.

    Two consecutive polls are not yet a trend but it is interesting.

    In Scotland the Labour vote is haemorrhaging to the SNP and in Wales very significant numbers of disgruntled Labour votes are relocating to UKIP from disgust at what has been happening in local government there and the disaster of the Welsh NHS.

    Right wing Tories are still relocating to UKIP.

    Election night is likely to be a nail biting ride but I think that the Labour vote will collapse.

    • treborc1

      Then you can see more then I can in Wales the UKIP vote would be a Plaid vote, UKIP are not and never will do well in Wales.

      When Plaid went into coalition with labour the people blamed Plaid for the cuts and the mistakes made, now plaid have refused or so they say to enter any more coalitions , but because of the coalition the Tories came back big time and they are now in second place again.

      The next election in Wales will see a Labour party desperately needing a coalition and this could be the liberals and the Tories with plaid, or labour and the Tories. We cannot forget that both Plaid and the Liberals have both refused point blank to enter coalitions with labour again.

      But UKIP in Wales nope doubt it, I truly think UKIP are an English issue.


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