Harriet Maltby, head of policy research, Prosperity Index at the Legatum Institute, writing in a personal capacity, says Yes.
Ukip has long been a confused combination of Nigel Farage with his middle-class Eurosceptic Tories and disgruntled working-class Labour voters. It was Nigel, and the personality cult that followed him, that held the party together. Now he has gone, the cult is over, and Ukip is dead.
The Eurosceptic Tory half of the party are returning to the Conservatives in droves following the Brexit vote. For them, Ukip was about a single issue now settled: Europe. The Conservatives are also chasing the working-class Labour vote that has been traditionally falling to Ukip. Theresa May’s “country that works for everyone” is a firm pitch to the Brexit heartlands of the North.
The political problem for Ukip is not insurmountable with the right leader. However, what’s left of the party and its National Executive Committee is a combination of well-intentioned political amateurs and toxic, divisive figures. Neither can fill Farage’s shoes, and neither are man enough to take on May and win.
Rupert Myers, a barrister, writer and associate fellow of Bright Blue, says No.
Ukip will struggle to retain the same profile that it enjoyed under Nigel Farage’s leadership, but there is still plenty of space on the right for a party fighting for total Brexit.
The Conservatives will always be constrained by the necessary compromises that must be made by a sensible party of government. They must worry about Britain’s economic prosperity. For the millions who voted for Brexit to deliver a Britain which is socially and culturally closer to the past, Ukip can continue to present a full-fat version of that ambition. The sad reality is that there are still votes in xenophobia for Ukip to win.
So long as Labour vacates the centre ground, the Tories will continue to chase Ukip voters. Eventually, however, Labour or its replacement will contest the centre ground of British politics again. At that point, the Conservatives will be forced there too. When that happens, as has been the case in the past, Ukip will serve as the welcome home for the disillusioned and disenfranchised.