Plea for Boris to use local elections as measure of trust
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Polling firms Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now have predicted a five per cent swing from the Conservative Party to the Labour Party at the local elections in England and Wales on May 5. They say if similar losses hit the Tories in a General Election, Labour would become the largest party in Parliament – 15 MPs short of a majority and reliant on striking a deal with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.
Electoral Calculus founder Martin Baxter warned the UK would pay the price for this with Ms Sturgeon getting her way to hold a Scottish independence referendum to rip the Union apart.
Mr Baxter told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics Podcast: “We’d probably be looking at a Labour minority government that might be supported by the Lib Dems if they’re lucky.
“But it would probably be more likely to lead to SNP support. And obviously, the price of that SNP support would probably be a second independence referendum.”
The pollsters predicted the Labour Party would make gains of 835, giving the party 3,722 predicted wards.
While they forecast the Tories were likely be hit by a devastating loss of 810 seats – with their wards dropping from 1,965 to 1,155.
In a huge blow to Mr Johnson, the pollsters warned stronghold Wandsworth could be taken by Labour, as well as Barnet, Harlow, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Southampton and Thurrock.
While Labour is tipped to make gains in Blaenau Gwent, Bolton, Bridgend and Burnley as well as Crawley, Flintshire, Milton Keynes, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Plymouth.
Some 12,000 people in 201 district and unitary councils were asked about their voting intentions between April 4 and April 8.
The sample was then weighted by gender, age, social class and past voting pattern.
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But Mr Baxter said Sir Keir was struggling to create “enthusiasm” among Labour voters.
He added: “If you can cast your mind back to Tony Blair, he generated a lot of enthusiasm at the time. People were encouraged to vote for him.
“Keir Starmer has not yet shown that. There have not yet been electoral victories without a proven enthusiasm by the British public to get Labour in and the Conservatives out.”
Mr Johnson’s premiership has been marred by a number of scandals.
And the latest, which has seen him fined for breaking laws after he attended a party in the height of the Covid pandemic, has seen him come under renewed pressure to resign.
He was fined over a birthday party thrown in his honour in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 at a time when indoor socialising was banned.
After facing accusations of hypocrisy for not following the rules and allegations of lying to MPs, Mr Johnson told a press conference in Kent: “You are going to have to wait until I come to Parliament when of course I will set the record straight in any way that I can.”
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