General election 2017: Theresa May tells cabinet ministers not to trust the polls – politics live

25 Apr

Labour is heading for a battering at local polls just weeks before the general election, academics have forecast.

Experts said Jeremy Corbyn’s party was facing “a kicking” in Wales in the May 4 council elections and is “heading for disaster” in Scotland, where it could lose control of all the local authorities it holds, as the Scottish National Party and Conservatives reap the benefits of strong opinion poll ratings.

Meanwhile, new analysis suggested that Labour could shed 75 seats in English councils – almost one in seven of the total it is defending, after boundary changes are taken into account.

Analysis by Plymouth University professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher put Conservatives on track for likely gains of around 115 councillors in the English county, unitary and metropolitan seats up for grabs next month.

Liberal Democrats, who were at a low point when the bulk of the English seats were last contested in 2013, stand to gain around 85 and have hopes of gaining control of Cornwall.

But Ukip is facing near wipeout, with the prospect of losing 105 out of the total of 145 seats they won last time round, many of which they have already forfeited due to defections.

In Wales, Conservatives could gain 50 or more seats from a low base, but Labour looks set for a “broader retreat”, with councillors picked off not only by the Tories but also by Plaid Cymru, Lib Dems and independents, said Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University.

Having performed “exceptionally” the last time the Welsh seats were contested in 2012, Corbyn’s party is likely to see losses in three figures in Wales and to lose majority control of its three major cities, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, said Prof Scully.

“It’s very likely we will see Labour lose more council seats in Wales than in the whole of England,” he told a briefing hosted by the Political Studies Association in London.

“Labour are likely to get another kicking in the local elections in Wales.”

Strathclyde University’s Professor John Curtice said it was difficult to predict numbers of councillors because of the complicated proportional voting system north of the border.

But he said Labour was likely to lose its role as the dominant force in Scottish local government to the Scottish National Party, with Conservatives also making gains.

“The Labour vote has been collapsing, and if you look at some of the by-elections in Glasgow it’s been horrendous,” Prof Curtice said.

“It looks as though Labour is heading for disaster north of the border. And therefore, it will be very, very surprising indeed if Labour retains control of any council in Scotland.”

No comments yet

Leave a Reply