• Tories couls gain seats they never dreamed of winning in Labour heartlands
  • One is Tony Blair’s former constituency of Sedgefield in County Durham
  •  The survey last night pointed to a majority for Mrs May as large as 172 seats

Simon Walters

and
Glen Owen for The Mail on Sunday

A dramatic collapse in Labour support in the North of England could hand Theresa May a greater Election triumph than even Margaret Thatcher at her peak.

And it could lead to the Tories gaining seats they never dreamed of winning – including Tony Blair’s former constituency of Sedgefield in County Durham. 

The latest sign that Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour faces being swept away by a blue tidal wave on June 8 comes from an unusually detailed ‘mega-poll’ of 40,000 voters.

A dramatic collapse in Labour support in the North of England could hand Theresa May a greater Election triumph than even Margaret Thatcher at her peak

A dramatic collapse in Labour support in the North of England could hand Theresa May a greater Election triumph than even Margaret Thatcher at her peak

A dramatic collapse in Labour support in the North of England could hand Theresa May a greater Election triumph than even Margaret Thatcher at her peak

Britain’s leading election expert, Professor John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, said last night that the survey pointed to a majority for Mrs May as large as 172 seats because of disproportionately large swings to the Tories across Labour heartlands in the North of England and the Midlands.

By contrast, Labour’s vote is holding up better in the south, where it has relatively few seats.

Professor Curtice said that nearly one in three Labour MPs could lose their seats because support for the party was ‘falling most heavily where Labour has most to lose’.

The survey, published this weekend by pollster Lord Ashcroft, suggests that Mrs May’s majority will rocket from the 17 she inherited from David Cameron last summer – and could even dwarf the 144 majority won by Mrs Thatcher in 1983, when she was buoyed by a surge of support after the Falklands War.

It would be the largest majority achieved by the Conservatives since the 1930s, with the number of Labour MPs plummetting from 230 to 161. Other Northern Labour seats at risk if the Ashcroft poll is correct include several held by Labour since the Second World War, including:

  • Stalybridge and Hyde in Greater Manchester – which was held by the Blairite Cabinet Minister, and current BBC director of radio, James Purnell, until 2010
  • Bradford South, where Labour whip Judith Cummins had a 6,450 majority in 2015
  • Great Grimsby, held by Melanie Onn on a majority of 4,540 – formerly the seat of 1970s Foreign Secretary Tony Crosland
  • Workington, where Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman had a 4,686 majority.
Margaret Thatcher General Election Victory, 10 Downing Street - 10 June 1983

Margaret Thatcher General Election Victory, 10 Downing Street - 10 June 1983

Margaret Thatcher General Election Victory, 10 Downing Street – 10 June 1983

To add insult to injury, according to the Ashcroft poll, Labour could also lose Cardiff South, the former seat of Labour PM James Callaghan, which was won by Labour in 2015 by 7,453 votes.

Labour’s growing polling day panic was reflected in a bizarre plea by Trotskyist former BBC journalist Paul Mason for party supporters to use booze to get young Labour supporters to vote on June 8.

SHE’D EVEN BAG BLAIR HEARTLAND 

A 172 commons majority would leave Mrs May just short of Tony Blair’s 179 majority in 1992, but could still give her the satisfaction of a Tory victory in Blair’s former seat, Sedgefield in County Durham, held by Labour since 1935 and won by Phil Wilson in 2015 by 6,843 votes.

Lancashire-born Mr Mason, a member of Mr Corbyn’s inner circle, called for pub ‘drinking sessions’ to boost the anti-Tory turnout. In a video message, he urged them: ‘Have a house party the night before… have a drinking session in the pub on Election day. But drag your friends to that polling station.’

Young voters should back Mr Corbyn or ‘anti-Brexit Lib Dems’ to stop Mrs May’s Conservatives ‘who want to crash the country,’ said Mr Mason.

At their manifesto launch this week, the Tories are expected to pledge no VAT rises, while dropping their 2015 vow not to hike income tax and national insurance and re-affirm the target of cutting UK net migration below 100,000.

They are also set to announce plans to recruit 10,000 more NHS mental health staff; maintain the vow to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid; impose a cap on household fuel bills; leave the EU Single Market as part of Brexit; set up new grammar schools and boost social care spending.

Other pledges will give young people the right to erase embarrassing internet posts and MPs a new vote on fox hunting.  

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