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Farage’s victory mean the Tories will be led by a Brexiteer, not a compromiser

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The Conservatives didn’t drop to a 9% vote share in the European election without losing a chunk of voters to remain parties(there was a major swing to the Lib Dems), but they will hear only one message: they are under threat from Nigel Farage.

That message is probably correct. The Brexit party, which Farage formed only four months ago, has just won a national election, and it has done it on Tory territory. The Conservatives are also a Brexit party, but one at a considerable disadvantage: they are the dopes tasked with delivering the thing. As such, they have been entirely unable to capture its spirit, which is something naturally allergic to the practicalities of leaving Europe – purist, anti-institution and scornful of compromise. All this was rammed home to Tory MPs by the results, with the added reminder that the leave-remain split is not going away any time soon.

The first and obvious consequence for the Tory leadership contest is that it will help Boris Johnson, already the clear frontrunner. Conservative MPs are even more firmly convinced that they need a leader with the goods Johnson offers: a Brexiteer prepared to deliver the purest form of Brexit – no deal – and who is capable of the same kind of mass voter seduction as Farage.


© The Guardian