HEARTLANDS SNUB CORBYN
Brexit revolt in traditional Labour seats could hand Boris victory
A REVOLT by Labour voters in the north of England and Midlands against Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to block Brexit could hand Boris Johnson victory in next month’s General Election.
The Tories are on course to win about 30 seats in Labour’s English heartlands on December 12 thanks to a dramatic swing against Mr Corbyn’s party since the 2017 election, according to a Daily Mail poll.
It means the Conservatives are poised to triumph in working-class seats they have rarely – if ever – held, such as Bishop Auckland, Great Grimsby, Rother Valley, Stoke on Trent North, Workington and Bassetlaw. All are in areas which voted to leave the EU.
The Survation poll, carried out after Mr Corbyn unveiled his £83billion manifesto, suggests Labour has been overwhelmingly rejected by its traditional supporters. It is the first election opinion poll this year to focus on the north of england and Midlands.
Remarkably, the poll also found that four in ten Labour voters (39 per cent) would be more likely to vote Labour if the party got rid of Mr Corbyn. And one in four Labour voters (23 per cent) prefer Mr Johnson’s Brexit policy.
The findings indicate that Mr Corbyn’s so-called ‘Red Wall’ of seats from North Wales to Durham will be breached by the Tories.
Labour support in the vast region has slumped by 11 points to 37 per cent since the 2017 election. The Tories are on 42 per cent – down two points since 2017. The Lib Dems are on 13 per cent, up from 5 per cent in 2017, with the Brexit Party on 7 per cent.
Mr Corbyn is paying a heavy price for his EU fence-sitting – 9 per cent of those who backed him in 2017 have defected to the pro-Brexit Tories; another 11 per cent have defected to Jo Swinson’s anti-Brexit Lib Dems.
The biggest Labour-Tory swing is in NorthWest England, including Manchester and Liverpool, where Labour had a 19-point lead over the Conservatives in 2017. That has been slashed to just two points.
The Tory lead over Labour in the East Midlands has soared from ten points in 2017 to 18 points. And the Conservatives have slashed Labour’s lead in Yorkshire and The Humber region by nine points, putting them one point behind.
Crucially, the Conservatives have leads of up to 20 percentage points in 43 Labour-held seats they are targeting in the North and Midlands. Mr Johnson needs a swing of just 5 per cent to gain 16 Labour seats, including Wakefield, Keighley, Barrow, Dudley North and Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
A swing of 10 per cent would see another 14 go from red to blue, including Bassetlaw, Dewsbury, Bolton North East and Darlington. A 15 per cent swing would see another 13 Labour seats captured by Mr Johnson, including the former pit village of Bolsover in
Derbyshire, held by veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner, and Tony Blair’s old constituency, Sedgefield in County Durham.
Damian Lyons Lowe, of Survation, said: ‘The figures suggest that even with the Brexit Party contesting Labour-held seats, Labour is vulnerable in places it has held for decades. The effect of the disproportionate fall in Labour support in this poll will vary from seat to seat. However, the Tories will be confident of winning all target seats in the North and Midlands where they need a 5 per cent swing, many of those where up to a 10 per cent swing is required, and possibly others too.’
The north of England and Midlands has become the key election battleground. With the Conservatives expected to lose seats in Scotland and pro-Remain areas in
London and the South, Mr Johnson must advance in the North and Midlands to win a majority.
Corbyn allies say a deep-seated loathing of the Conservatives in working-class communities in the north of England and Midlands means they are safe for Labour.
But Johnson aides say Mr Corbyn’s Brexit ‘dither and delay’, allied to a sense that Northern and Midlands Labour voters feel alienated from his Islington brand of Left-wing politics, provides a potential breakthrough.
The poll found that Mr Johnson is regarded as best Prime Minister by 46 per cent of voters, while 30 per cent say Mr Corbyn would do a better job in No 10.
A total of 3,082 people took part in the poll in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East and North West on Thursday and yesterday
‘Labour is vulnerable’