The Conservatives are ahead in general election contests for six London parliamentary constituencies that could be vital to their party’s hopes of forming the next government, according to a series of recent opinion polls, though the sizes of the leads vary and could be overturned by shifts in local opinion and tactical voting by Remainers.
Surveys by Deltapoll of voters in the strongly Remain-majority Chelsea & Fulham, Cities of London & Westminster, Finchley & Golders Green, Hendon, Kensington and Wimbledon seats in the past two weeks, published by the Observer, have found Tory leads in every case, ranging from 23 percentage points to just two over their nearest rivals.
Conservative candidates are defending all of the six seats polled except Kensington, which Labour won unexpectedly from the Tories in 2017. Deltapoll found a Tory lead there of three points over the Liberal Democrats, represented by ex-Tory Sam Gyimah, and nine points over Labour, whose candidate is the incumbent Emma Dent Coad. Felicity Buchan is the new Tory candidate for the seat.
The biggest Tory lead in the six seats is enjoyed by Greg Hands in Chelsea & Fulham. Although his vote share is found to have fallen slightly compared with 2017, he is running a healthy 23 points ahead of the high-profile Lib Dem Nicola Horlick and 24 ahead of Labour’s Matt Uberoi.
The narrowest Tory lead is in Wimbledon, where Stephen Hammond, who temporarily lost the Tory whip in the House of Commons for rebelling against the government’s approach to Brexit, was found in a poll published last week to be running just two points ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 38 per cent, with Labour trailing on 23 per cent. The Lib Dem candidate is Paul Kohler and Labour’s is Jackie Schneider.
In the latest trio of local polls, Conservative Nickie Aiken, the leader of Westminster Council, is leading in Cities of London and Westminster (previously held for the Tories by Mark Field) on 39 per cent, six ahead of Chuka Umunna for the Lib Dems and 13 ahead of Labour’s Gordon Nardell. Read On London‘s coverage of the “Two Cities” seat here.
Meanwhile, in Hendon, which was a Labour seat until 2010, the Tories, on 51 per cent, lead Labour by 19 percentage points. The Tories also have a substantial lead in the neighbouring seat of Finchley & Golders Green according one of the polls published last week. Their 46 per cent puts them 14 points ahead of Lib Dem ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger on 32 per cent, with Labour, whose candidate is Barnet councillor Ross Houston, well back in third on 19 per cent. The Tory candidate is the incumbent Mike Freer.
All six polls will be giving qualified encouragement to the Conservatives, who feared at the start of the general election campaign that losses in London could, along with others in Scotland, cancel out gains in Leave-leaning seats in the Midlands and North of England.
However, the narrowness of the leads in Wimbledon, Kensington and “Two Cities” and the Lib Dem leaps into second place in all three suggest the Tories could be susceptible to tactical voting that helps the Lib Dems as the election date draws closer and more voters give their local contests closer attention.
Conservatives are also under challenge from the Lib Dems in Sutton & Cheam and, in particular, the pro-Remain Richmond Park, where Brexiter Zac Goldsmith won by just 45 votes two years ago. However, they have hopes of gaining Croydon Central, Enfield Southgate and Dagenham & Rainham from Labour.
A London-wide poll published earlier this month indicated a fall in Labour support across the capital since 2017 and the possibility that they might lose seats in the capital on 12 December. There is, though, encouragement for Labour in an analysis of YouGov’s polling figures by the Datapraxis company, applying the MRP method, which suggests prominent pro-Brexit Tory Iain Duncan Smith is only slightly ahead of his Labour challenger Faiza Shaheen in Chingford & Woodford Green.
Other Tory seats targeted by Labour include Chipping Barnet, Harrow East, and Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge & South Ruislip. On London‘s guide to all the capital’s parliamentary constituency contests is here.
This article was updated on 25 November 2019.
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