In the May European elections, the Tories won 9.1 per cent of the vote; just three of their candidates were successful. This result was widely described in the media as the Party’s worst since 1832, the year of the Great Reform Bill.
At the 1832 election, 179 Tories were successful, the lowest score in the nineteenth century. In the eighteenth century, the two-party system of Whigs and Tories almost ceased to operate at some points, but at no time were there fewer than 100 MPs who considered themselves Tories. At the end of the seventeenth century, following the inception of the two parties in 1679, the Tories were never far behind the Whigs, and in the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14) they gained a clear ascendancy.
The 2019 European elections were the worst in the Party’s history. Speaking on 29 May, Alistair Lexden said: ‘Mrs May now holds four unenviable records: the worst election manifesto and campaign (2017); the worst party conference speech by a Tory leader (2017); the worst Commons defeat (2019); and the worst election result (2019).’