Row-Mired Tories Reportedly Fear Local Election Drubbing as Seats Could 'Flip' to Labour, Lib Dems
13:35 GMT 02.05.2022 (Updated: 14:11 GMT 02.05.2022)
© Flickr / European ParliamentUK elections, selfies
© Flickr / European Parliament
With local elections in the UK set for 5 May, latest polling data from POLITICO Poll of Polls showed Conservatives trailing Labour by 6 percentage points. Furthermore, amid Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson's “partygate” troubles and a looming possibility of a no confidence vote, his approval rating reached an all-time low of 28 percent in January.
Amid continued backlash over the so-called “partygate” scandal that has put pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quit, as well as the cost-of-living crisis, there are concerns that the Conservative party might be in for a drubbing at looming local elections.
Furthermore, these Tory fears have been exacerbated by reports that the Labour party and the Liberal democrats have entered into a secret electoral pact, The Telegraph reported.
According to cited leaked Tory analysis, Labour is standing a third fewer candidates in the Liberal Democrat target region of the South West than in the last local elections. Accordingly, in the North East and North West of England, where Labour has deep historical roots, the Lib Dems were found to be standing fewer candidates than in 2018. This has prompted Oliver Dowden, the Tory chairman, to accuse the two parties of conniving to better each other’s chances.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has denied the existence of such a pact.
The local elections come at a critical time for the Tories, when the "partygate" scandal has placed Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team firmly in the crosshairs.
Westminster is still waiting for the full report from senior civil servant Sue Gray into the "lockdown-violating" gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall.
The complete findings are expected after a Scotland Yard probe into a total of 12 gatherings that reportedly breached strict coronavirus lockdown rules in the UK between 2020 and 2021.
22 April 2022, 05:59 GMT
The report is expected to be highly “incriminatory” for the PM, who together with his wife, Carrie, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined by Metropolitan Police over a surprise birthday party for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room in June 2020. Some Tory MPs are ostensibly waiting for the full Sue Gray report before submitting their letters of no confidence in the PM to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee.
Some rebels have reportedly prepared no confidence letters to be submitted en masse if the Conservative party does poorly at the local polls.
In a reflection of local sentiments on the ground, a Tory Somerset County Council candidate has claimed that her posters are being ripped down and burned by disillusioned voters.
“The farmers have said they are happy to put them up but they get trashed. People say they are going to put them up really close to the election, because we know they’re not going to survive. I’ve had people throw leaflets back out the door at me as well,” Dawn Denton was cited by The telegraph as saying as she was out canvassing.
Denton also said locals often cite Boris Johnson personally as a reason why not to back the Tories.
“They say that if they vote Conservative, they are endorsing Boris… But if they get a sense that those in Westminster are holding Boris to account, then they'll cast their vote Conservative. So they are waiting to see what happens this week, added the woman.
Denton is one of over 10,000 prospective councillors seeking office in the local elections. In England, 146 councils are holding elections, including all 32 of London boroughs.
Elections on the day will also take place in all of Scotland's 32 councils, and all 22 councils in Wales, while in Northern Ireland, voters will be choosing 90 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
25 April 2022, 06:25 GMT
As Downing Street has been reeling from the recent scandals, Tories have taken a hit in recent polls, sparking fears the Conservatives could lose 'Blue Wall' areas on Thursday.
As of April 13, the Conservatives trail Labour by 6 percentage points, according to the Politico poll of polls. The survey suggested that 40 percent of voters intend to vote Labour, and 34 percent intend to vote Conservative.
UK (London local elections), YouGov poll:— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) April 28, 2022
CON~ECR: 23% (-2)
+/- vs. 23 Feb-3 Mar
Fieldwork: 19-22 April 2022
Sample size: 1,232
➤ https://t.co/Oc1WEqP3kq#uk #BorisJohnson #KeirStarmer pic.twitter.com/6xkvXxZ1Z9
The Labour party has accumulated a 27-point lead over the Tories in London ahead of the borough elections on May 5, a YouGov survey for the Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End Institute revealed.
The poll put Labour on 50 percent, more than twice as high as the Conservatives on 23 percent, with the Liberal Democrats on 12 percent and Greens nine per cent.
There are 32 borough councils in London, 7 of which are currently held by the Tories, 3 by the Liberal Democrats, 1 under no overall control and the rest held by Labour.