November 28, 2019 by Paul Goldsmith
Going into an election in which the Tories can tell potential Brexit Party voters they have a deal to leave and Lib Dem voters they can leave with a deal could be how the Tories will win a majority.
Given they were quite unlikely to lose many voters to a Corbyn-led Labour Party, the key to winning seats in the December 12th election was to work out how to stop Brexit supporters defecting to the Brexit Party and Remain supporters defecting to the Liberal Democrats.
Had the Tories gone into the election without a deal on the horizon it would have effectively have had to be a ‘no deal’ policy for them. Going in with a deal has effectively ended the relevance of the Brexit Party to this election.
Now, think of Tory votes like a bathtub, with water sloshing backwards and forwards. Go too Remain-focused and they lose water (votes) out the Brexit Party side. Go too Brexity and they lose water (votes) out the Liberal Democrat side. So, had the Tories gone into the election having to talk about no deal, then votes would have definitely leaked to the Liberal Democrats whilst coming in from Brexit Party supporters.
But going into the election having not only agreed a deal, but shown that he is capable of getting that deal through a Second Reading in a Parliament as split as it was and whilst he had a minority Government suggests two things to two different political audiences.
To people thinking of voting for the Brexit Party it suggests that Boris Johnson will ensure the UK leaves the EU. If he can get so far down the road to doing it with the Parliament that has just dissolved, he can do it with a majority in Parliament. Therefore, voting for a Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson is realistically the best way to actually achieve Brexit.
This explains their retreat over the past fortnight from the election fray. They simply can’t claim the Conservatives can’t deliver Brexit, however hard Nigel Farage tries.
That’s one thing, but interestingly, the likelihood of a Brexit deal also stops Remain-focused Conservative voters from voting for the Liberal Democrats. IF Brexit is going to happen, they might think, it is better it happens with a deal than no deal.
The fact is, getting that deal and showing he can manage it through a stage of Parliament could end up being the making of Boris Johnson.