Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Dr Richard Hayton examines the increasing influence of Nigel Farage

02 October 2014 |

As new data reveals Farage is the most influential right wing figure in British politics, Dr Hayton highlights his influence on mainstream politics.

Dr Hayton features in the Voice of Russia article, "Boris Johnson mocks UKIP defectors, urges Conservatives to unite", which highlights that traditional Tory voters are being won over by Farage's hard line politics on immigration and Europe.

The Tory party suffered a third defection this week with the announcement by former deputy Mayor of London John Barnes that he was joining UKIP. Farage's top spot was secured by a list of experts selected by the Telegraph newspaper.

Dr Hayton comments that, "the decision to place him at the top of that list is slightly cheeky - to generate maximum attention for that list! However, it does indicate the extent to which the Conservatives have been shaped over the past year by the perceived threat electoral challenge that UKIP is posing. It does appear that David Cameron, as he has admitted, is facing two ways electorally. He has to take on the Labour party but he is also very concerned increasingly that losing votes on the right flank may cost his party the election."

London Mayor Boris Johnson was fourth on the list, ahead of home secretary Theresa May and one place behind Chancellor George Osborne. Even in light of Johnson's omission from cabinet, his popularity makes him an important assest to the party. Speaking at the Tory Party conference earlier this week Johnson fused strategy with humour to mock Farage, warning voters that UKIP was not the answer. He argued that David Cameron was the only leader who could give UKIP voters what they want- an in-out referendum on Europe.

Dr Hayton says, "Boris is essentially supporting Cameron’s policy. However, if you look back at some of the things Boris Johnson has said about Europe over the last few years, he has said more strongly than David Cameron that he is more open to the UK leaving the union. Maybe when it comes to the time of the referendum Boris is saying he could contemplate that the Conservative party may have to recommend that the UK withdrew, whereas Cameron has maintained this position that he will be able to negotiate a settlement that is good for the UK within the European Union."

Read the full article online.

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