Tribal party loyalties mean The Independent Group has "no chance" of breaking the mould of British politics, according to a leading pollster.
Chief executive of market research company Ipsos MORI, Ben Page, said a new centrist party would find it difficult to gain seats, despite the group polling third-place in a recent YouGov poll.
Speaking to talkRADIO’s Toby Young, Mr Page said the first-past-the-post electoral system, as well as deep-rooted tribal loyalties, made it difficult for third parties to go mainstream.
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Mr Page said: “About 60 per cent of the electorate in this country will vote for a parrot on a stick provided it has the correct colour rossete, either red or blue. That’s been tested time and again in General Elections.
“The electoral system also makes very hard to break mould of politics. You can easily get 20 per cent of the vote but not get any MPs at all because you don’t have enough to get 50 per cent in a single constituency.”
'Reminder to other parties'
Although he doubted the Independent Group’s ability to gain seats in parliament, Mr Page said a new centrist party could have a long-lasting effect on British politic.
“If they are successful and they do attract support, it’s a reminder to the other parties that they can’t neglect the centre of British politics. It’s a reminder that you do need to build a political party that’s a broad movement, rather than just a narrow set of your own adherents,” Mr Page said.
He added: “One can argue that the SDP actually lead to Tony Blair’s victory in 1997, because it convinced Labour that they needed to move back to the centre.”