"The end of the Conservative Party as a credible force?"

On the night of the 1997 election, Paxman asked Portillo "are we seeing the end of the Conservative Party as a credible force in British politics?"

Is there any way the answer to that question could have been "yes"?
 
See, I'd be inclined to agree, but there is the precedent of the Canadian PCs. Obviously, you'd need a British analogue of Reform, which could be harder to make. If a far more "wet" liberal PM succeeded Thatcher, maybe earlier in her premiership, could you have got that? Or am I grasping at straws?
 
The Tory Party tends to turn the knife on its leaders rather than split. If we got a Heathite Conservative PM, say in the aftermath of the Brighton Bombing (an iffy proposition given Heseltine wasn't your typical wet liberal and was the likeliest successor in the event of Tebbit being unable to stand), then if he annoyed the party enough he'd be removed like Heath or Thatcher IRL. For the Tories to be destroyed as a credible force you'd need them to be spectacularly incompetant, and have a movement to the right of them to take up their voters.
 
See, I'd be inclined to agree, but there is the precedent of the Canadian PCs. Obviously, you'd need a British analogue of Reform, which could be harder to make. If a far more "wet" liberal PM succeeded Thatcher, maybe earlier in her premiership, could you have got that? Or am I grasping at straws?

Unique circumstances to Canada. The failure of Meech Lake and Charlottetown, combined with Mulroney's unpopularity and Campbell's Palinism, caused the PC implosion. Ideology was a minor factor, disintegration of their electoral base due to BQ and Reform was why the PC Party fell apart. Mulroney is an economic Blue Tory like Stephen Harper.
 
Well, Michael Portillo gets p***ed off with the Conservative Party's constituency 'wrinklies' being so anti him, but he gets popular ratings so he splits the Tories by leaving to start a new party (? New Conservatives?, Conservative Democrats?, Real Conservatives? True Blue Party?). John Major retires, Kenneth Clarke becomes Conservative leader. Poor showing in the 2001 election and leads to more 'desertions' and in the 2005 election leaves the Conservatives as the fourth party in the UK.

2001 General Election:
Labour 415
Conservative 90
Liberal Democrat 65
'Portillo Conservatives' 51
Scottish Nationalist 6
Ulster Unionist 6
Plaid Cymru 4
Democratic Unionist 5
Sinn Fein 4
SDLP 3
Independents/Others 10

2005 General Election:
Labour 351
'Portillo Conservatives' 157
Liberal Democrat 64
Conservative 42
Scottish Nationalist 6
Ulster Unionist 1
Plaid Cymru 3
Democratic Unionist 9
Sinn Fein 5
SDLP 3
Independents/Others 5

2010 General Election:
Effectively a choice between Brown and Portillo ..... (near) extinction for the Conservative Party?
 
Well, Michael Portillo gets p***ed off with the Conservative Party's constituency 'wrinklies' being so anti him, but he gets popular ratings so he splits the Tories by leaving to start a new party (? New Conservatives?, Conservative Democrats?, Real Conservatives? True Blue Party?). John Major retires, Kenneth Clarke becomes Conservative leader. Poor showing in the 2001 election and leads to more 'desertions' and in the 2005 election leaves the Conservatives as the fourth party in the UK.

2001 General Election:
Labour 415
Conservative 90
Liberal Democrat 65
'Portillo Conservatives' 51
Scottish Nationalist 6
Ulster Unionist 6
Plaid Cymru 4
Democratic Unionist 5
Sinn Fein 4
SDLP 3
Independents/Others 10

2005 General Election:
Labour 351
'Portillo Conservatives' 157
Liberal Democrat 64
Conservative 42
Scottish Nationalist 6
Ulster Unionist 1
Plaid Cymru 3
Democratic Unionist 9
Sinn Fein 5
SDLP 3
Independents/Others 5

2010 General Election:
Effectively a choice between Brown and Portillo ..... (near) extinction for the Conservative Party?

That's pretty much ASB, especially as the leader of the rebels wasn't an MP after 1997.
 
That's pretty much ASB, especially as the leader of the rebels wasn't an MP after 1997.
Actually, in OTL Portillo became an MP again when he won the Kensington & Chelsea by-election in November 1999. In February 2000 he was appointed to the important position of Shadow Chancellor in the Hague Opposition.

Portillo is an intelligent man with firmly held views. I can't see it needs an ASB leap for him to have acted the way I described in 1997.
 
Portillo is an intelligent man with firmly held views. I can't see it needs an ASB leap for him to have acted the way I described in 1997.

Portillo would be sensible enough to understand breaking up the party would be suicidal for both his break away and the Conservative remnant, dozens of backbenchers following him in this is just silly. A coup would be more likely but it would almost certainly fail.
 
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