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UK and elections: Conservatives on thin ice

Rising inflation, interest rates at their highest level in 15 years, rising mortgage and other loan values, a cost-of-living crisis and continued social protests in 2023 cast a shadow over the outlook for a government that wants to stay in power.


Danay Galletti Hernández


A poor performance puts UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s re-election in jeopardy.

The former finance minister of Indian origin achieved some stabilisation of financial markets, which experts say were unbalanced by Truss’s radical tax-cutting agenda, during his 44-day tenure.

But Sunak has not been able to reverse the precipitous fall of his political grouping, which has plummeted since the so-called Partygate scandal, associated with parties and other Conservative government meetings, in a context of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-2021).

The situation involved then prime minister Boris Johnson, who resigned as an MP last June after a cross-party parliamentary committee concluded that he had lied to lawmakers about the parties during the lockdown.

  Continued social protests in 2023 also underline the lack of progress on election promises such as halving inflation, economic growth and reducing waiting times in the National Health Service.

While polls show that two-thirds of Britons have an unfavourable opinion of Sunak, the Labour Party has a double-digit lead in the polls ahead of the 2024 polls and has won several by-elections this year, coupled with gaining two additional seats in Parliament.

The Conservative party has lost eight seats in by-elections in the last three years, and the loss of the most recent by-elections – Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire – marked the first time since 1962 that Labour has won two such votes on the same day.

Sarah Edwards, the winner in Tamworth, said the town north of Birmingham voted for a new start and sent a clear message to Sunak and the Conservatives responsible for the collapse of the economy and the destruction of public services.

The party’s leader, Keir Starmer, said after the victory in the two districts that the result shows once again how his party is at the service of working people in redrawing the political map of the European nation.

The reshuffle of the current executive determined the return of former British Prime Minister David Cameron – known for calling and losing a referendum on Brexit in 2016 – to the post of foreign affairs minister, until the upcoming general election. Cameron replaced James Cleverly, who was appointed to the Home Office after the sacking of Suella Braverman, who was sacked following the publication of an unauthorised article in The Times accusing police in the capital of supporting pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

As Cameron is not a member of Parliament, he should have received the title of lord for life for his subsequent entry into the Upper House, as according to the internal rules the selection of ministers takes place among the members of the legislature.

The decision was welcomed by the more centrist wing of the Conservative Party, but the more critical section of the current administration saw it as a strategy by Sunak to resurrect his weakened government ahead of the upcoming polls. PL

(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: Pixabay

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