by Atul Hatwal
Labour is facing a parliamentary wipeout on June 8th. The defeat will be greater than 1983 with the leading figures such as Tom Watson, Dennis Skinner and Caroline Flint facing defeat while many others, including Yvette Cooper, Ed Miliband and Angela Rayner, are teetering on the brink.
Currently Labour is set to lose just over 90 seats but a relatively small deterioration of the party’s position on the ground could see dozens more fall.
These are the findings of new analysis by Uncut based on the views of dozens of Labour candidates, party officials and activists following the past three weeks of intensive canvassing.
In this time, thousands of Labour members and supporters have knocked on tens of thousands of doors in constituencies across the country. While social media is a place where hackneyed tropes about a “great reception on the #Labourdoorstep,” are trotted out, in reality Labour’s army of canvassers has been gathering huge amounts of intelligence and feeding it back through the party’s operation.
Uncut has focused on two questions in conversations with Labour campaigners to understand the situation on the ground:
- What is the scale of switching from Ukip to the Tories? This issue has been highlighted widely in the media and is evident in the Tories rising poll rating and Ukip’s symmetrical slump.
- What is the drop-off in 2015 Labour vote? Every area is reporting the Corbyn effect on the door with Labour voters refusing to back the party, but this hasn’t been clearly captured in the public polling.
For both questions, the estimated shift has been quantified at a regional level based on feedback from campaigners and applied to the 2015 vote share for each constituency in that region. In line with feedback from across the country, the Lib Dems and Greens are assumed to be on track to repeat their 2015 performance.
The results are not pretty.
While the national polls suggest Labour’s vote is holding up, potentially even advancing on 2015, in the constituencies that matter, something very different seems to be happening.
A net loss of 91 seats would be devastating.
The two factor model on which these findings are based for England and Wales is rudimentary and mechanical (agricultural even). But then, so is what is happening to the Labour party.
The combination of Ukip voters turning to the Tories with Jeremy Corbyn’s impact on 2015 Labour voters has created a perfect storm.
Scotland is an anomaly. North of the border an entirely different election is being conducted. One where the defining issue is the union and if Labour can position itself as a vehicle for unionists, there are grounds for optimism that some small but significant gains can be achieved.
The situation is very bleak (the detailed seat by seat breakdown is below) but there is still action that Labour can take to limit the damage.
One of the salutary lessons of the 2015 election was the futile manner in which Labour diverted significant resources to seats where there was barely a glimmer of hope of victory. If the effort and organisation that went into the quixotic hope of defeating Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam had been directed a few miles away towards protecting Ed Balls in Morley and Outwood, he might still be an MP.