At least the weather has been decent. Apart from that, I’m not sure local Conservative candidates have had much fun knocking on doors in the capital these last few weeks.
An exclusive YouGov poll in today’s Standard reveals that Labour is on course to take 50 per cent of the vote in London, more than double the Conservatives on 23 per cent. That 27-point Labour lead represents a five-point improvement on 2018, the last time these seats were contested.
It does not take an Eton education to understand why. People are getting poorer while the Government appears to be self-immolating over Partygate.
Londoners meanwhile also face eye-watering rent rises amid an historic supply squeeze as well as a Prime Minister that rather gives the impression of having no interest in the city, save for running down its transport network and briefing against its mayor.
But there is some good news for the Tories. Thanks to their already weak position in the capital, the reality is there’s only so far they have left to fall. Therefore, while they are projected to lose roughly 70 seats in London, they might consider that not too bad a result. Expect a lot of the spin on the night to be dependent on whether the party manages to hold on to Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet councils.
It is not unalloyed good news for Labour. Its growing poll lead can be attributed largely to a fall in support for the Conservatives, rather than to widespread advances of their own. And Keir Starmer will be keenly aware that his party must make gains nationwide in order to form the largest party at the next general election.
Another interesting wrinkle in the data is Labour’s support from ethnic minority communities. While the party still gets the backing of 66 per cent of such voters in London, that is down from 75 per cent in 2018. Not a trend it will want to continue.
In the comment pages, Ayesha Hazarika urges us not to pity her friend Angela Rayner – instead, let’s clear out Westminster’s pathetic men. She also declares her undying love for the BBC’s adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel, Life After Life.
Homes and Property Editor Prudence Ivey explores how London – always quietly adept at reinventing itself in unexpected ways – might adapt to the post-Covid norms.
And finally, the Crawleys and co are back for another cinematic outing. Charlotte O’Sullivan’s take on Downton Abbey: A New Era: funnier and sharper than Death on the Nile, yet still ludicrously sentimental and formulaic. Dame Maggie Smith remains a treat, obviously.
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