Labour meltdown as Boris threatens to topple red wall
CIVIL war has broken out in the Labour Party over Boris Johnson’s opinion poll lead – with proRemain MPs being blamed for the loss of Brexit-backing voters.
The Conservatives have maintained a consistent lead in the polls, with today’s Mail on Sundaycommissioned Deltapoll survey giving them a 13-point advantage.
The failure of Jeremy Corbyn to repeat the ‘surge’ of 2017, which destroyed Theresa May’s Commons majority, has unleashed a battle between the hard-Left and moderate wings of the party over who should replace him as leader if Labour crashes to defeat on December 12.
Mr Johnson is pinning his hopes on smashing the ‘red wall’ of constituencies in the Midlands and the North which have historically voted Labour, but are swinging towards the Tories because of Mr Corbyn’s opaque Brexit policy.
A separate survey today, based on analysis of the betting markets in each constituency, points to a Tory majority of 24.
The Smarkets data shows that political gamblers are increasingly betting against Labour in former strongholds such as Bishop Auckland, which has never sent a Tory MP to the Commons but is given a 62 per cent chance of doing so this month.
Deltapoll puts the Tories up two percentage points to 45 per cent, with
Labour on 32 per cent. This would give Mr Johnson a majority of 92 if the figures turned into a uniform swing on Election night.
But the headline figures mask wide variations according to age, gender and personal Brexit leanings.
While the Tories command the support of 70 per cent of those who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum, only 15 per cent are planning to back Labour on December 12.
The generational divide is also stark: among 18-to-24-year-olds, just 23 per cent are planning to vote Tory, compared to 63 per cent backing Labour. Among the over-65s, a whopping 68 per cent are planning to vote Tory. Only 14 per cent intend to vote Labour. Men are more enthusiastic about Mr Johnson than women, with 50 per cent planning to vote Tory, compared with 40 per cent of women – a split which has been described as ‘Boris’s woman problem’.
With Mr Johnson appearing to be on course for a majority, Labour sources say campaign managers loyal to Mr Corbyn are deliberately blocking proRemain London MPs Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry – both leadership contenders from the moderate wing – from making TV appearances. Corbynista favourites such as Rebecca Long-Bailey and Laura Pidcock are said to be preferred for the most prestigious media slots instead.
Labour have reacted to the threat to their ‘red wall’ by vowing to change strategy and concentrate on wooing
pro-Leave Labour voters across the Midlands and the North. Northern Labour candidates fear the switch may have come too late, and are furious about the party’s advocacy of a second referendum and support for Remain.
They blame a ‘cabal’ of North London party figures, led by Sir Keir and Ms Thornberry, for putting pressure on ‘closet Brexiteer’ Mr Corbyn to appeal to Remain voters.
One senior Labour figure defending a Northern seat said last night: ‘We told the party leadership time and time again that this “Made In Islington”, North London proRemain policy would cost us dear in the North. Instead, we’ve had what looks like an anti-Brexit strategy cooked up in London where the main enemy is the Liberal Democrats, when here in the North it’s the Tories. It’s been absolutely pathetic leadership from the top.’
The source accused Mr Corbyn’s inner circle of a ‘snobby attitude towards the North of England’ and called for a ‘clear-out’ of the leadership office – including key adviser Seumas Milne.
But party sources hit back by claiming internal polling now had the Tory lead down to single digits.
Joe Twyman, co-founder of Deltapoll, warned the Conservatives that their lead could shrink in the final days of the campaign, saying: ‘The difference between a majority for Theresa May in 2017 and the hung parliament she ended up with was just 75 votes.
‘The underlying data still strongly favours the Conservatives, including Boris Johnson’s personal ratings compared to Jeremy Corbyn… (but) the Conservatives will want to guard against complacency while Labour will be hoping for a strong finish and that their supporters, particularly their younger voters, turn out.’
Deltapoll interviewed 1,528 British adults online between November 28 and 30. The data has been weighted to be representative of the British adult population as a whole.