Parliament Matters

Is the Conservative Party falling apart?

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Episode notes

Following the local election results, are we now in zombie Parliament territory? With no immediate general election in sight what can be achieved in Westminster before MPs finally make their rendezvous with the voters?

We talk to Professor Tim Bale about defeat, defections and the internal dynamics of the Conservative Party. Is what we are witnessing merely the natural result of 14-years in office and a party in the doldrums having run out of government steam? Or is the Conservative Party’s historic electoral coalition unravelling? Is this the normal cycle of politics or is something more fundamental at work?


Facing grim polling predictions, we analyse the potential impact of a disastrous election defeat on the Party’s ideological direction, examining the struggle between the various factions within the parliamentary party. And we reflect on how post-election rebuilding may shape the Party’s leadership and political strategy in the future.


The unexpected defection of right-wing Conservative MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, to the Labour Party was elegantly stage-managed for maximum impact by Keir Starmer and his team, at Prime Ministers’ Questions this week. But was it too clever? We discuss whether the opportunities really do outweigh the friction created by welcoming such a controversial new MP to Labour’s ranks.


We look at why some Conservative MPs want to scrap postal voting when recent research published in the Hansard Society’s journal, Parliamentary Affairs, suggests they would be shooting themselves and their party in the foot if they did so.


And as Wayne David MP’s Private Members’ Bill to tackle SLAPPS – strategic lawsuits against political participation - grinds its way through Parliament we catch up on the Committee debate this week which saw MPs grappling with the fine technical detail of how to balance the right to sue for defamation with the right to enjoy free speech and not to be oppressed by legal bullying tactics. 

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Parliament Matters is a Hansard Society production supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Producer: Richard Townsend

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