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  • Kara Evans

14 Years on the Reserve Bench: Predicting a Labour Government in 2024

By Kara Evans

With the Conservatives on the outs and the 2024 General Election looming, it seems there will be a renewal of Labour’s lease in Downing Street after fourteen years on the reserve bench. There is an excitable industry of guesswork around the timing of this election, with the Prime Minister telling reporters that ‘2024 will be an election year.’ As Tuesday December 17th, 2024, marks 5 years since Labour’s loss under Jeremy Corbyn, if Rishi Sunak doesn’t request a dissolution of Parliament before then, Parliament will dissolve automatically and campaign chaos will begin just before Christmas. 

Labour in particular are still hiking towards the foothills of scrutiny which will inevitably notch up with every week that gets closer to election D-Day. But for the Conservatives, scrutiny has been incessant since the days of Boris Johnson, through to the short-lived economic totalling of Liz Truss, before leadership of the party eventually fell into the lap of Sunak and his cabinet. Although the Prime Minister has continued making strides towards improving the Conservative Party’s, and his own political misfortunes, Sunak has seemingly fallen short at every hurdle according to polling patterns. 

YouGov MRP polling released in the Daily Telegraph on Monday has predicted that if an election were to be held today, the Conservatives would face a crushing general election defeat. Predictions suggest the Tories could retain only 169 seats, 196 fewer than in their 2019 victory. Whilst Starmer could sit on a 120-seat majority, Rishi Sunak has become a sitting duck for backlash on his responses to conflict in Gaza, the Cost-of-Living Crisis, and the never ending list of problems that have haunted the Tories since the days of Truss. 

The proof is in the pudding, the writing’s on the wall, whatever you want to call it, the Conservative Party’s days in government are undoubtedly numbered. However, Labour’s poll leads appear to be down to dissatisfaction with the Government rather than support for the fence-sitting opposition. Come election time and a Labour win, Starmer’s government will struggle to unite and conquer after blowing the dust away and getting off the reserve bench. Labour’s strategy has focused largely on asking the British public whether they feel better off now, or not, after what they are calling 14 years of Tory failure. The Labour leader himself is under growing pressure to flesh out some details on what Labour would do in office. His failure to answer the big questions has been a Labour tactic for the past several years: stay vague, look credible. 

But this won't work when Keir Starmer is handed the keys to 10 Downing Street. 

When questioned on how exactly he plans to usher in this “decade of national renewal,” the Labour leader often follows this with a ramble about his five national missions without any details on how he plans to deliver these. This could give the Conservative Party an upper hand come election time; the British public can’t be blindfolded by Labour’s babble forever. 

Rishi Sunak will still have to scale a “steep and narrow path”, says a Senior Tory Official, if he hopes to pull off a General Election victory. With families still struggling to pay soaring mortgage bills, growing NHS waiting lists, and the alleged ‘small boat crisis’ blanketing the British press, it is likely these issues will haunt the Tories going into the General election. After spending hundreds of millions of pounds- and just as many hours- on pushing the Rwanda scheme onto the political agenda, the policy will be the bane of the Conservative party’s existence come election time as 47% have said that the policy represents bad value for money to the UK taxpayer. This is without considering the numerous human rights violations rooted in the bill. 

I don’t think you need a politics student to tell you that the Conservative party is going to struggle to cling to power this year. But right now, Labour is standing in the shadows from the scrutiny it should be getting as the Tory’s steal the limelight (justifiably) for their continuous failures. I am just here to merely remind you that Labour is only the best out of a bad bunch, not our knight in shining armour that is going to save us from the claws of the Conservatives.

Image: UK Parliament / Jess Taylor



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