Around ten of London’s 73 parliamentary seats could change hands at the general election, according to a new opinion poll and local soundings taken by the Evening Standard newspaper.
The findings underlines that Labour is on course to be the biggest loser in the capital on 8 June, suggesting that at least four of its 45 seats and possibly as many as nine could fall to Conservatives.
The Tories, who won 27 London seats in 2015, are said to be in danger of losing Twickenham to a comeback by Liberal Democrat Sir Vince Cable, who was defeated there by Tania Mathias two years ago. Other Lib-Dem-Tory marginals in the suburban south-west, including Richmond Park which the Lib Dems sensationally relieved the Tories of at a by-election in December, are judged too close to call at this stage.
The poll, conducted by YouGov, puts Labour ahead of the Conservatives by five percentage points in London as a whole (41%-36%), compared with the nine-point vote share superiority they secured at the last general election, in 2015 (44%-35%). In stark contrast, national polls put the Conservatives well ahead of Labour.
The London poll also shows a recovery in the Lib Dems’ popularity, giving them 14 points compared with an 8% vote share two years ago, and Ukip declining to 6% from 8%. The extent to which Ukip supporters switch to the Conservatives is thought key to the outcome in some of the Tories’ Labour targets.
The Labour seats thought to be at greatest risk from Tories are Ealing Central and Acton, Ilford North, Enfield North and Brentford and Isleworth, followed by Harrow West, Westminster North, Hampstead and Kilburn, Eltham and possibly Dagenham and Rainham, where Ukip came second in 2015. Labour’s Neil Coyle, defending Bermondsey and Old Southwark, is described as being “slightly ahead” of Sir Simon Hughes, another Lib Dem trying to make a comeback.
The new opinion poll indicates a long-term trend broadly consistent with that found by a YouGov poll conducted for Queen Mary University of London at the end of March. That showed the Conservatives to have closed the gap on Labour in London to three points, compared with a substantial 16 points one year before. The Lib Dems had doubled their support to 14% during that period while Ukip’s had declined from 13% to 9%.
The Standard’s coverage of the new You Gov poll is here.