They are among 51 candidates in Jeremy Corbyn’s party that could lose their re-election bid, with new research pointing to the greatest Labour defeat since Michael Foot was leader in 1983.
The model, which accurately predicted a hung parliament in 2017, claims the party’s “Red Wall” is crumbling, with those at risk including deputy leader Tom Watson’s old West Bromwich East seat.
In total, 19 Labour MPs backed a second reading of the withdrawal agreement bill in October, including Laura Smith, Jon Cruddas, Caroline Flint, Melanie Onn, Jo Platt, Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth. The second reading passed the House of Commons, but the prime minister’s fast-tracked timetable was derailed, forcing him to request an extension to the Brexit deadline of 31 October.
These nine, representing Leave-voting constituencies, according to the MRP model, are on course to lose their seats at the general election in two weeks’ time to Conservative candidates.
Ms Flint, the Labour candidate for Don Valley and former minister, warned just days ahead of the election being called that the party would not get a “hearing for any of the policies we’ve got around the NHS, around tackling homelessness” if the issue of Brexit had not be resolved.
She last won the seat in 2017 with 53 per cent of the vote share and defeated her Conservative rival by over 5,000 votes. But the new model suggests Ms Flint could now lose her constituency to the Tories.
Responding to the model, Anthony Wells, the director of political and social research at YouGov, said: “As it stands, the swing to the Conservative party is bigger in areas that voted to Leave in 2016, with the bulk of the projected Tory gains coming in the North and the urban West Midlands, as well as former mining seats in the East Midlands.”
The researchers add: “It also worth noting that seven Labour MPs who backed Boris Johnson’s deal in October – Laura Smith, Jon Cruddas, Caroline Flint, Melanie Onn, Jo Platt, Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth – are set to lose to Conservative candidates.”
Overall, the constituency-by-constituency estimate by YouGov, published in The Times, indicates that if the election was held on Thursday, the Conservative Party would win 359 seats, 42 more than they took in 2017.
They would also take 43 per cent of the vote, and in terms of seats this would be the party's best performance since 1987.
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