Labour needs a double-digit lead in local elections to take No 10 keys

The Labour Party needs a double-digit lead over the Conservatives in order to signal that the party is heading for Downing Street in 2024, a polling expert has suggested. Prof Sir John Curtice said that the party’s current goal – to beat Ed Miliband’s seven-point lead over the Tories in 2012 – is not enough to bestow confidence on the party. Colin Rallings, emeritus professor of politics at Plymouth University, agreed, saying it is “accepted wisdom” that Sir Keir Starmer’s party will need a 12 percent swing from the Tories to win an overall majority at the next election.

Mr Rallings said Labour would need to replicate Sir Tony Blair’s success in the 1996 local elections, noting that the swin the party needs to win an overall majority at the general election is bigger than that achieved by Sir Tony in 1997.

Writing for the Times, pollster Prof Sir John said that beating the seven-point swing target “would not be enough to emulate the performances of Sir Tony Blair before the 1997 general election or of David Cameron before his success in 2010”.

He added: “Labour enjoyed leads of 15 points or more between 1994 and 1996. The same was true of David Cameron in 2008 and 2009.

“Doing quite as well as that might be thought a tall order. But registering at least a double-digit lead should not.

“Certainly, if Labour’s lead is anything much less than that we will be left wondering whether the party really have as yet sealed a deal with the voters.”

Polling stations are open today as more than 8,000 council seats across England will be contested at the local elections.

Polls open across the country

The polls opened at 7am this morning, with more than 8,000 council seats across the UK to be contested.

In an attempt to manage expectations, Rishi Sunak yesterday said the results would be “hard for us”, admitting that some Conservative councillors would lose their seats as a result of events “over the past year”.

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