POLITICS

Labour Forecast To Lose 125 Seats In Local Elections, While SNP, Tories And Lib Dems Gain

Set for 'cataclysmic' Scottish results; UKIP facing losses too.

03/04/2017 18:23 BST | Updated 03/04/2017 23:05 BST
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Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is on course to lose 125 seats in the local council elections in May, a new forecast has claimed.

Pollster Robert Hayward said that Labour was facing a “cataclysmic” defeat in Scotland, where it could lose control of both Edinburgh and Glasgow councils.

But while the SNP will score well, the Tories and Lib Dems are also projected to make 100 gains each too in the May 4 elections across England, Scotland and Wales.

And UKIP are expected to lose between 80 and 90 seats, with their main losses taking place in England, as the party continues its post-Brexit demise in the wake of the loss of Nigel Farage as its leader.

Hayward, a former Tory MP who is now a peer, said that Labour is likely to lose control of Derbyshire County Council and may fall behind the Conservatives in Lancashire and and Nottinghamshire County Councils. 

All three are significant as they contain crucial marginal seats needed to win a Westminster general election.

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The electoral map up for grabs on May 4.

Across England, the Tories were likely to make gains from Ukip in East Sussex, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

The Lib Dems are set to do well in Gloucestershire and could regain overall control of Cornwall and Somerset, further proof of their “fightback” in the West Country and elswhere.

On the basis of his vote projections nationwide, Theresa May would be on course for a majority of more than 100 if she called a snap election, Hayward said.

Of the councils being contested, Labour is only certain to maintain control of Durham.

Hayward told HuffPost UK that Labour is on course to lose control of Glasgow to the SNP and drop from first to third place in Edinburgh in vote share. The party could also lose its small majority in Cardiff.

He added that while Labour would be buoyed by expected victories in the new Metro Mayor elections in Manchester and Liverpool, if it lost the West Midlands contest “that would be a very good night for the Tories”.

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The Liberal Democrats have been increasingly confident of gains after nearly a year of council by-election successes across the north and south since the EU referendum.

In Scotland, Hayward said that Labour was facing a “cataclysmic” set of results, The SNP would make gains from its old enemy, but could lose other seats to the Tories in areas such as Perth and Kinross.

Jeremy Corbyn is set to launch his party’s election campaign on Tuesday in Newark in Nottinghamshire.

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A Labour source told HuffPost UK: “These will be a challenging set of elections. They are individual contests with very differing circumstances.

“Nevertheless, Labour is fighting hard for every vote, setting out our alternative agenda to the Tories, who are taking Britain backwards.”

In his speech, Corbyn will launch Labour’s campaign by highlighting the work being done by Derbyshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire councils to help residents with housing, the living wage, benefits and lending for local businesses.

He will also say how “angry” he and other voters are at the state of the NHS.

“How can you not be angry and demand major change when life expectancy in Britain for pensioners and those aged 45 is falling? We are a rich country, the sixth richest in the world. We are not at war, there is no epidemic sweeping our land,” he will say.

“So how on earth can life expectancy be falling? The truth is that the Tories are running our country down.

“Home ownership, opportunities for our children, wages and conditions at work, the NHS, care for our elderly, and now, life expectancy: they’re all going backwards, run down by a Conservative Government that looks after those at the top and manages decline for the rest of us.”

Acting Shadow Local Government Secretary Teresa Pearce announced at the weekend that she was quitting her temporary post.

But after what is understood to be contact with the leader’s office, the party clarified that she was only stepping down after - rather than before - next month’s local elections.

Pearce has been filling in for Shadow Communities Secretary Grahame Morris, who has been ill for some time. She is expected to be replaced by Roberta Blackman-Woods.