New polling from top opinion firm YouGov has highlighted the crisis facing the Labour Party in their traditional heartlands, as the Tories look set to replicate their 2019 triumph in the so-called Red Wall.
Much of the country is going to the polls on Thursday to elect a range of figures including local councillors and mayors, and number crunchers at YouGov have investigated how Labour could fare in twenty council areas identified as representing the Red Wall.
On their model, Labour is set to lose a whopping 59 seats and could drop as many as 88, while the Tories are due to scoop up 90 new councillors. Their upper estimate for Conservative performance would see them gain 122 new councillors in the coveted battlegrounds.
The Tories will be benefiting from collapsing support for Labour under lacklustre pro-EU leader Sir Keir Starmer, who spearheaded Jeremy Corbyn’s hated Brexit policy during the last parliament, as well as the evaporation of support for the UK Independence Party – and the failure of Nigel Farage’s successor Brexit Party (now Reform UK) to pick up where UKIP left off in local politics.
Overall voting intentions see the Conservatives drawing neck and neck with Labour in the working class towns where Labour once ruled the roost, with the Tories just one point shy of Labour’s overall base of support. Back in 2016 and 2017, Labour picked up 42% of the vote compared to just 24% for the Tories under the leadership of David Cameron and Theresa May.
A rough night for Labour councillors could be compounded by a drubbing in the Hartlepool constituency, where locals are electing a new MP following the resignation of Mike Hill. Labour has held the seat since it was established, and it was most famously represented by New Labour architect Peter Mandelson for twelve years.
A major poll by Survation last month suggested that the Tories were on course to take it with a seven point lead over Labour, winning 49% of the vote and cementing their status as the ascendant party in Labour’s formerly reliable northern stomping grounds.