Conservatives on course to lose up to 32 ‘red wall’ seats to Labour, says pollster

Dozens of seats back in play for Keir Starmer’s party

Adam Forrest
Monday 04 October 2021 13:34 BST
Labour has ‘credible programme’ to win next election, says Keir Starmer

The Conservative Party would lose up to 32 so-called “red wall” seats to Labour if an election were held tomorrow, according to new poll findings.

A new YouGov survey shows the Tories and Labour now neck and neck in the north of England, Midlands and north Wales constituencies which proved so crucial to Boris Johnson’s 2019 general election victory.

The Conservatives have dropped to 41 per cent in red wall areas – seven points down on the party’s 2019 result – while Labour are up two points to 40 per cent.

According to the company’s modelling, the result puts dozens of seats back in play for Sir Keir Starmer’s party in traditional Labour-voting territory.

YouGov said four red wall Conservative constituencies would be “firmly back in Labour’s hands”, while another 14 would also be “likely to fall” to Starmer’s party and a further 14 would be too close to call.

Despite being encouraging news for Starmer, the 40 per cent poll showing in traditional Labour heartlands still represents a 10-point drop on the party’s 2017 result when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

YouGov’s multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) modelling shows Redcar, North West Durham, Lincoln and Heywood and Middleton are the most likely red wall seats to fall to Labour at the next election.

The company’s latest results show a majority of the public now disapprove of the Tory government’s record to date – with 54 per cent saying they disapproved and only 26 per cent saying they approved.

Mr Johnson’s personal approval rating have dipped too, with 60 per cent of voters saying he is doing badly as prime minister and only 35 per cent saying he is doing well.

“The British public are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the government’s performance – including on key issues such as inflation – and are beginning to lose faith in Johnson as a leader,” wrote YouGov’s research manager Patrick English.

Speaking at the Tory conference in Manchester, chairman Oliver Dowden did not deny reports the party are preparing for a general election in 2023 – a year ahead of schedule.

“The PM told me to make sure that the Conservative Party machine is ready to go for an election whenever it comes,” Dowden told Sky News on Sunday.

Asked if there would be an early election, Dowden said: “Right now, we are absolutely focused on getting on with the job of making sure that we deliver for the British people.”

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