General election polls predict tight Labour-Tory races in key Hexham and North Northumberland seats

New polls predict that Labour will win back the North East ‘red wall’ seats it lost in 2019 – and have set the stage for what could be incredibly tight races in two blue heartlands in our region.

YouGov analysis has predicted that Sir Keir Starmer will become prime minister with a 422 seats and a 194 majority in Parliament, bigger than that won by Tony Blair in 1997’s landslide, with the Tories winning just 140 seats at the general election on July 4. And separate data also published on Monday by research company More In Common suggests that Labour will win 383 seats and a slimmer 114 majority, putting the Conservatives on 180.

Both polls forecast that Labour will regain Bishop Auckland, a key target for the party and one of the constituencies that turned blue at the last general election. The models also predict Labour will gain the reconfigured Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor seat, which is replacing the Sedgefield constituency currently held by Paul Howell and previously occupied by Tony Blair, while also winning the new Cramlington and Killingworth seat, which will take in the majority of the Blyth Valley seat that Tory Ian Levy won in 2019.

But, whereas other polls have forecast a complete wipeout for the Tories across the North East, the More In Common research has Rishi Sunak’s party hanging onto two seats that are more traditional Conservative berths. Guy Opperman’s Hexham constituency has been Tory for 100 years and More In Common believes it will stay that way – but only by the narrowest of margins.

It predicts that Mr Opperman will retain his seat with a 38% vote share, just one point ahead of Labour challenger Joe Morris. However, the YouGov analysis instead predicts what would be a historic Labour gain in Hexham, a seat which has never been red before, forecasting that Mr Morris will win 46% of the vote and Mr Opperman just 34%.

Tory minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan is also forecast to retain her seat. She is standing in the new North Northumberland constituency, which adds the areas of Morpeth and Pegswood to her existing Berwick seat, and More In Common poll predicts the Tories will win 38% of the vote there to Labour’s 30%. While the YouGov projection also has the Tories holding North Northumberland, it puts the two main parties neck and neck – both on 36%.

Both polls also predict Labour gaining Stockton West, Redcar, and Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland from the Conservatives.

Luke Tryl, More in Common UK executive director, said: “While many things could change between now and July 4, Labour is on course to win a comfortable majority, with the most Labour gains in a single election since 1945, nearly doubling their seat count compared to 2019. The Conservatives on the other hand are forecast to enter opposition holding only marginally more seats than they did after the 1997 landslide, suggesting a steep path to recovery.

“It’s worth noting however that there are currently 43 seats that the Conservatives are projected to lose by less than four points, which means any tightening in the race could see a much smaller Labour majority. There are also 49 seats which the Conservatives are currently projected to hang on to by just 4%, which means it wouldn’t take much movement for the Conservatives to head to a record defeat, potentially worse than that seen in 1997.”