Tories to lose 45 seats to Labour on Birmingham by-election swing as Boris mounts comeback

Zelensky thanks Boris Johnson before receiving standing ovation

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The Prime Minister suffered yet another by-election blow last week after Labour’s Paulette Hamilton received a modest swing and retained the safe seat of Birmingham Erdington on Thursday. Ms Hamilton received 9,413 votes, opening up a 3,266 vote majority over Conservative candidate Robert Alden.

However, while the Conservative Party was unable to pull off a victory similar to the Hartlepool by-election result in 2021, the 4.5 percent swing achieved by Labour suggests a recent MRP poll might have overestimated support for Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

A survey conducted by JL Partners in January, a time when ‘partygate’ dominated the front pages, found the Tories were set to lose up to 164 seats while Labour looked set to make 150 gains.

Almost half of Conservative Cabinet members were forecast to lose their seats, including the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The poll also suggested the Tories were at risk of surrendering the ‘Red Wall’ and of facing an electoral wipeout in Wales and Scotland.

JUST IN: SNP MP caught using Ukraine crisis to voice desperate independence bid

However, if Sir Keir Starmer only managed to achieve a swing of 4.5 percent at the next general election then Mr Johnson’s party would only lose 45 seats to Labour.

Several Tory bigwigs would still face the chop as a result, including ex-leader Iain Duncan Smith, former ERG chairman Steve Baker and Vote Leave campaigner Theresa Villiers.

But the Tories would still likely emerge as the largest party on a 4.5 percent swing.

The Liberal Democrats had hoped to land further blows in the Tory heartlands following Sir Ed Davey’s momentous victories in Chesham & Amersham and North Shropshire last year.

However, the most recent MRP poll suggests that even when ‘partygate’ was the most significant issue the Liberal Democrats were only expected to make five net gains.

Labour’s lead in the opinion polls has also taken a nosedive in recent weeks.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party found itself 10 points ahead in a Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey conducted in early February but now the same pollster gives Labour a small lead of just three percent.

Chris Curtis, head of political polling at Opinium, warned by-elections are not necessarily the best barometer to measure public mood.

He said: “By-elections are fundamentally very weird and there are lots of local factors that influence it.”

Mr Curtis highlighted how lower turnout and local factors often cloud the way in which by-elections can be applied to the national picture.

However, he added: “Having said that it was a lot lower swing than we had expected given what we were seeing in the national polls.”

Curtis continued: “The Labour Party lead has certainly fallen back a bit, we are not seeing those nearly double-digit leads we were seeing for the party but even still a poll on Monday put them three points ahead which is a 7.5 percent swing.”

Mr Curtis also said he needed more data to be released before he could offer a conclusion on whether Mr Johnson had started to embark on yet another electoral comeback.

He also stressed that the Prime Minister had certainly received a boost since ‘partygate’ was replaced as the dominant news story by other issues, including Ukraine.

Ex-UKIP and Conservative MEP David Campbell-Bannerman also suggested Mr Johnson’s bounce-back could be explained by focusing on serious matters in Ukraine.

Speaking to, Mr Campbell-Bannerman said: “The momentous nature of the first big war in Europe since 1945, bigger than the Hungarian uprising or Czechoslovakian crushing, is sobering for all.”

Scottish independence row explodes as SNP accused of ‘surrender’ [INSIGHT]
‘Excuses!’ SNP blasted and accused of ‘surrender’ over possible [ANALYSIS]
Sturgeon slammed for blocking UK energy lifeline during Russia crisis [VIDEO]

The former MEP, who has supported Mr Johnson in two Tory leadership contests, went on to suggest the Prime Minister look energised when dealing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and claimed Brexit Britain has “led the free world”.

Mr Campbell-Bannerman explained: “I think Boris deserves enormous credit for his leadership as the first to get weapons into Ukrainian hands.”

He also pointed out how Mr Johnson’s “robust” strategy had helped put pressure on the European Union to back the exclusion of Russia from the financial transactions service SWIFT.

In a boost to Mr Johnson, Mr Campbell-Bannerman said he thinks the Prime Minister can turn the electoral tide and take the lead over Labour.

He claimed: “I do think we can regain a positive in the polls, I think the Prime Minister has done a superb job and is a great war leader, just like his hero Churchill.

“There’s a Churchillian feel to how Boris has led the free world and been very robust and supportive of Ukraine, I think he’s made a real difference.”

However, there are growing concerns about whether the Government can tackle the cost of living crisis with inflation predicted to hit 7 percent later this year and average energy bills estimated to increase by £693 in April.

Mr Curtis appeared to question whether Mr Johnson’s potential rebound could withstand the ongoing cost of living crisis, especially given that polling suggests Labour has opened up a lead against the Tories on that issue.

While Mr Campbell-Bannerman disagreed with the polling guru to argue the Tory Party is better positioned to deal with the crisis, he warned it would be a “difficult task” for Boris Johnson and his Conservative colleagues to make a success of.

The Labour Party has also been approached for comment.

Source: Read Full Article