EU/Europe: The issue that’s cost the last 3 CON PMs their jobs. Will TMay be next?

February 14th, 2018

Polls show that concerns about Europe/EU are linked to whether the Tories are in power or not

I like the above chart which makes a strong point that the EU becomes an issue amongst voters when the Tories are in power.

The data comes from the Ipsos-MORI Issues Index in which those sampled are asked unprompted what they think the major issues facing the country are. It has operated like this for more than 40 years and it is widely regarded as a good measure of salience.

What is striking is that the main developments of Britain’s relationship with what became the EU happened when the Tories were in government. Ted Heath in the early 70s took the UK in and it was his successor as CON leader, Mrs Thatcher, who played a big part in the evolution of the single market.

John Major’s period in office from 1990—1997 was totally dominated by the EU which exposed the huge fault lines within the party.

It was Cameron, of course, with his commitment to a referendum that had led to Brexit and the current divide within the party over the shape of that. Brexit cost Cameron his job as Europe/EU played a huge part in the departures of Thatcher and Major.

This has totally dominated the news for several years and will go on doing so.

The Conservative party had most of gain and most to lose from the success of Brexit.

Mike Smithson