From the outside, the Conservative party seem united over Brexit, only one MP Kenneth Clarke voted against giving the Prime Minster the right to trigger Article 50. In reality this actually hides a lot of discontent. Anna Soubry in the New Statesman openly speculated about creating a new centrist pro-Europe party similar to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) created in the 1980’s after the Labour party shifted to the left. However, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron may not be happy at this development in his conference speech he in effect threatened moderate Labour and Conservative MP’s saying ‘Defect or resign. If you don’t then when the next election comes we will do to you what we did to Zac Goldsmith.’ who lost his Richmond Park seat in a by-election last year. This is hardly subtle unlike Ukip who dropped out of seats where there was a Eurosceptic candidate. Instead the Lib Dems will be marching their army of door knockers to remove them from parliament.
In the Labour party there is a more sizeable opposition to the leadership. This is mainly because the leadership was seen to be only half-heartedly supporting remaining in the European Union. There are too many examples to put into such a short blog post (maybe another day), but moderate Labour MPs took the referendum result as an opportunity to air their discontent to the leadership starting with the sacking of Hilary Benn in the small hours of Sunday 26th June. The prospect of a separation of the Labour party was at its highest in those tumultuous days after the referendum, yet the possibilities are now slim. But, if there was a major efort behind it, with financial backing and numbers of MP’s (approximately 25, I would say) it could become a force to be reckoned with in former Labour seats. But the main disadvantage is the voting system. First past the post has stopped fringe political parties from making an impact, the SDP, Ukip and the Liberal Democrats all have been ruined by a system that rewards the establishment.