Labour set to lose DOZENS of seats in Red Wall councils to the Tories

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Labour is on course to lose dozens of seats in Red Wall councils to the Tories in next week’s local elections, a YouGov poll has revealed.  


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The survey found key marginals including Dudley, Northumberland and Derby are expected to be won by the Conservatives, who are also likely to be the largest party in Bolton.

Former red strongholds such as Bury, Hyndburn and Lincoln are likely to fall as well as threatened majorities in places like Sheffield, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

Should such results materialise in the north, it will increase pressure on leader Sir Keir Starmer, who was out campaigning in Hartlepool today, and fuel concerns that the party would not be able to compete in the next general election.

The damning poll found more than half of people surveyed felt the party didn’t understand people like them, with just one in five claiming it did.

Asked if Sir Keir was a better leader than his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, 40 per cent said he was, but nearly a third thought he’d been neither better nor worse, with some 48 per cent believing Labour would be unable to form a competent government.

One senior MP on the Labour left told the Times Sir Keir would have to consider stepping down if more ground was to be lost in key areas in the north and midlands.  

‘If it’s not working he needs to let someone else come in who will make the changes required,’ they said. 

Meanwhile a Red Wall Tory added: ‘There is concern among colleagues that if we win Hartlepool, Starmer might quit — and that would be a shame for us.’

However, another poll, produced by the Daily Mail, found the Tory party’s lead over Labour has narrowed to only one percentage point and the Prime Minister’s popularity has been dented in the wake of revelations about his Downing Street flat renovation.

But it also found that Boris Johnson enjoys overwhelming public backing for his successful vaccine rollout and is still seen as a more effective leader than his opponent.

The Survation poll – commissioned by the Mail ahead of local and mayoral elections next week – shows that the Tories’ lead over Labour has fallen from six points in a week.

Worryingly for Mr Johnson, only 25 per cent of respondents believe he upholds the highest standards in public life, 29 per cent think he is trustworthy and 30 per cent say he generally tells the truth. 

Despite the PM’s emphatic denial, far more people believe he did say that he would rather let the ‘bodies pile high’ rather than another lockdown than those who did not.

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And a clear majority of those who have been following the story – 58 per cent – believe he has behaved improperly over the controversial Downing Street refurbishment.

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However, the poll shows overwhelming public support for the Government’s vaccination programme. 

Some 72 per cent believe ministers have handled it well, almost four times as many as the 19 per cent who believe it could have gone better.

Mr Johnson also came out on top when voters were asked who would make the best prime minister. Some 41 per cent think he would, while Sir Keir is the preferred candidate for 33 per cent.

The lead is down one point from a nine-point advantage a week ago, and the 14-point lead Mr Johnson enjoyed in Survation polls a week before that.

Voters are split on how they think the Government is handling the Covid pandemic overall: 45 per cent say they are managing it well, with the same proportion saying they have done badly.

The Mail has reported a string of revelations over the refurbishment of the flat at No 11 Downing Street that the Prime Minister shares with his fiancee Carrie Symonds and their son Wilfred.

Mr Johnson has insisted there is ‘nothing to see’ because he has now paid the £58,000 cost overrun on the apartment. However, there are several official probes into the affair – including one by the Electoral Commission.

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Today’s poll shows that 39 per cent would vote Tory if an election was held tomorrow, with Labour on 38 per cent.

Mr Johnson now has a net favourability rating of minus 7 per cent. Some 39 per cent have a favourable view of him compared to 46 per cent who do not.

Sir Keir’s favourability rating is minus 4 per cent – the first time he has beaten the PM in the approval ratings since January.

The favourability rating of the Government overall is minus 3 per cent (39 per cent to 42 per cent).

In the wake of the Downing Street flat revelations, as well as allegations surrounding his use of language in the lead up to the second lockdown last autumn, the poll shows the majority of the public view the PM as untrustworthy (55 per cent). 

And 58 per cent said they believe Mr Johnson gets away with things other politicians would not be able to.

When people were asked whether they believe the PM generally tells the truth, 53 per cent said no and just 30 per cent said yes.

On the question of whether he is an effective leader, Mr Johnson comes out top against his Labour counterpart, with 43 per cent saying he is compared with 30 per cent for Sir Keir.

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Across all voters, more people believe reports – first revealed in the Mail this week – that Mr Johnson told colleagues that he would rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than impose a third lockdown (48 per cent to 30 per cent). 

A significant minority of voters who backed the Tories at the 2019 general election (30 per cent) also believe this.

Some 58 per cent believe Mr Johnson has behaved improperly over his flat refurbishment, including 37 per cent of Tories.

However, the public narrowly support the PM over his texts to manufacturer Sir James Dyson, who was asked to build ventilators in the first wave and reassured his workers would not face an extra tax burden. Some 39 per cent said it was appropriate against 38 per cent who said it was not.

Overall, the poll found that 32 per cent believed recent allegations against Mr Johnson had made them less likely to vote Tory.

The poll also found that 39 per cent believe Miss Symonds wields too much power in Downing Street, against 22 per cent who do not. The rest did not know or had not heard of her.

Damian Lyons Lowe, chief executive of Survation, said: ‘While just one poll, with a margin of error of up to 4 per cent, the Conservative party’s declining lead over Labour is backed up by other measures of personal and government approval being on a recent wane after a particularly strong turnaround for the Government this year.’ 

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