Should Ukip just dissolve itself?

Nigel Farage Attend Public Meeting In Stoke Ahead Of By-election
Ukip without Farage is a shadow of its former self (Source: Getty)

Rachel Cunliffe, deputy editor of Reaction, says Yes.

Ukip had two things holding it together: a cast-iron raison d’être and Nigel Farage. Now both are gone.

Demonise Farage all you want, but the sheer force of his personality got him not only on the political map but centre stage. His combination of controversy and charisma made Ukip impossible to ignore.

Meanwhile, the party’s warring factions of far-right free trade libertarians and working class anti-immigration protectionists were glued together by the common goal of getting Britain out of the EU. With Farage out and the referendum won, Ukip has nothing left.

The fact that its biggest donor (Arron Banks) is currently trying to force out its only MP (Douglas Carswell) shows that Ukip has no interest in evolving into a serious political force.

All organisations have divisions, but grown-up parties find ways to compromise and move forward. Not Ukip. It’s time for any members genuinely dedicated to political change to defect from this band of petty squabblers.

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London, says No.

The phrase “existential threat” is bandied around a lot these days, but in Ukip’s case it is an accurate description of the danger it faces.

With a Conservative Prime Minister not only determined to ensure that the UK leaves the EU but also bent on reducing immigration, people are bound to wonder whether leader Paul Nuttall and Co should bother keeping the show on the road.

But there are at least a couple of reasons not to call it a day. For one thing, for those who want out of the EU and a big fall in immigration, Ukip’s continued presence ensures that Theresa May’s feet are held to the fire.

For another, there are a whole bunch of voters who simply don’t feel represented by either of the two main parties: to them, the Tories are still too keen on shrinking the state while Labour is too politically correct. Ukip won the support of nearly 4m voters in 2015 – and polls don’t suggest they’ve given up on it yet.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles