The British political parties raised record sums in the most recent three-month campaign cycle, raising eyebrows among Tories who could be vulnerable on the campaign trail later this year.
During the campaign in the spring, Conservatives raised an estimated £3.15 million (about $4.7 million) and Labour was credited with taking in £3.1 million ($4.4 million). In the four months leading up to the last election in 2015, Conservative parties raised about £1.78 million ($2.5 million) in the 12 months leading up to it.
The Conservatives and Labour had ground to catch up with others in the parties who reported large amounts raised in the last three months of 2018, with opposition parties Scottish National Party (£2.26 million ($3.2 million) from June 1 to July 4), Liberal Democrats (£1.25 million ($1.7 million) from June 1 to July 4), and Greens (£940,000 ($1.3 million) from June 1 to July 4), respectively.
The last campaign finance reports are especially significant considering the highly political climate before the country voted in a snap election in June. Prime Minister Theresa May’s late-in-the-game decision to call the snap election led many Britons to question her judgment and leadership. Those concerns could diminish in the next campaign, especially after May’s party reportedly spent more than £2 million (more than $2.5 million) just before the election to assist its campaign.
After the election, May lost her majority in Parliament. At the start of the new political year, one of her ministers admitted in a private letter to May that her disastrous decision to call an election could make it more difficult for her to survive as prime minister.
Some political observers thought the recent Brexit vote could be seen as an important harbinger to campaigns around the world. Like some in the U.K., Mr. Trump’s election in 2016 brought with it similar widespread concerns about the legitimacy of the system that would supposedly allow one man to be elected president of the U.S. on the backs of millions of votes that he did not receive, according to some experts. Some say the European Union helped make a difference in the U.K. election, as traditional allies threatened to take away much-needed support from the Conservatives if they pushed through Brexit.
Likewise, according to a study published in May by polling company YouGov, conservative candidates were favored by voters with at least a high-school education in 53 percent of the seats they’re up for. In the main opposition Labour Party, however, the figure was 72 percent among voters without a high-school education.