Tory MPs scent decay as Labour prepares hitlist

JOHN MAJOR toured the tea room at the House of Commons last night after Prime Minister's question time to reassure his troops that recovery was on the way.

He found morale holding remarkably firm in the face of the worst results since the Tories came to power.

But Tory MPs with marginal seats see the writing on the wall. 'The game is up,' one Tory backbencher said. 'There was a smell of decay about the Wilson-Callaghan government. We have got it now.

'When you have Blair saying he believes in the market economy and the Tory party is putting up taxes, you have complete blurring between the two sides. That is fatal for us.'

Labour shared that view. 'We are now winning back for the first time the seats in the new towns that went to the Tories when they fell in love with Mrs Thatcher,' said one Labour strategist. 'They are the Essex Man seats.'

Labour had an overall national swing of about 12 per cent, more than enough to sweep the Tories out of the top 25 Tory-Labour marginal seats, including Graham Bright, the Prime Minister's parliamentary aide; Michael Forsyth, the employment minister; Tom Sackville, junior health minister; and Giles Brandreth.

William Powell, the MP for Corby, seventh in the list with a 342 majority, was the first to call for Mr Major's immediate resignation after the European elections.

But there was surprisingly little sign of panic around the targeted Tories.

'I've had more farewells than Frank Sinatra. And the general election is nearly three years away,' said one Tory MP with a new-town marginal.

Seats on Labour's 'new towns' target list in the South include Stevenage, the seat of Tim Wood (majority 4,888), a Government whip; Harlow, Jerry Hayes (2,940); Crawley, Nicholas Soames, minister for food, (7,765); Slough, John Watts (514); and Basildon, David Amess (1,480), a totem in the Tory party because it marked the turning of the tide against Labour on election night in 1992.

Labour is targeting southern Tory seats with majorities of less than 5,000 where it is in second place. They include a swathe of seats across the south including: Dover, David Shaw (majority 833); Brighton Kemptown, Andrew Bowden (3,056); Brighton Pavilion, Sir Derek Spencer, Solicitor General (3,675); Plymouth Drake, Dame Janet Fookes (2,013); Swindon, Simon Coombs (2,826), and Southampton Test, James Hill (585).

The top 25 Tory-Labour marginals, which are being targeted by Labour (with majority as a percentage in brackets) are: Vale of Glamorgan (0.03 per cent), Hayes and Harlington (0.03), Bristol NW (0.08), Ayr (0.08), Bolton NE (0.38), Norwich N (0.51), Corby (0.6), Slough (0.89), Tynemouth (0.99), Southampton Test (1.04), Amber Valley (1.2), Edmonton (1.24), Luton South (1.38), Dover (1.45), Bury South (1.46), Stirling (1.47), Leices NW (1.57), Bolton W (1.81), Chester (2.07), Batley and Spen (2.31), Langbaurgh (2.37), Basildon (2.75), Coventry SW (2.82), Lincoln (3.28), and Mitcham and Morden (3.39).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map