Iain Duncan Smith's Seat At Risk As Boris Johnson Makes Late Election Campaign Visit To Chingford And Wood Green

Brexiteer and driving force behind welfare reform feeling pressure from Labour's Faiza Shaheen.

Boris Johnson has been campaigning in Iain Duncan Smith’s London constituency as the former Tory party leader struggles to avoid being the shock casualty of the general election.

The PM paid a visit to the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency on Sunday afternoon in a sign the party fears the marginal seat could swing to Labour.

Duncan Smith, the former Department Work and Pensions Secretary who was the driving force behind Tory welfare reforms, is defending a majority of less than 2,500 against Labour’s Faiza Shaheen.

If Duncan Smith is unseated, it could in part be the result of anti-Conservative tactical voting. Actor Hugh Grant has canvassed alongside Shaheen in the constituency, and has previously campaigned alongside Liberal Democrat and independent candidates in other marginal seats.

On Sunday, former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell urged Lib Dem and Green supporters to vote tactically to oust Duncan Smith.

Ian Warren, an elections analyst, suggested Brexiteer Duncan Smith, who has represented the Chingford and Woodford Green area for 27 years, is leading Shaheen by just 1.5%.

Speaking to HuffPost UK last year, Shaheen, who grew up in the area, said she had “a duty to my country to take him out because of the misery he has created in so many people’s lives”.

Tactical voting has been used to great effect in the past.

Anti-Tory tactical voting by Lib Dem and Labour voters in 1997 arguably cost the Conservatives as many as 80 seats – including the famous defeat of Michael Portillo in Enfield Southgate.

Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, has argued her party stands the best chance of winning Tory-held seats and blocking Johnson from gaining his prized majority.

The party is targeting a number of Conservative constituencies, including Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton, and asking the anti-Brexit vote to unite behind its candidate.

On Sunday, comedian Steve Coogan took to the streets in his local constituency of Lewes in East Sussex with Lib Dem candidate Oliver Henman to try to unseat the Tory party.

Conservative Maria Caulfield won with a majority of 5,508 in 2017 and people narrowly voted to remain during the 2016 referendum.

The Alan Partridge star, who sported a “tactical voting vital” sticker on his jacket, said people needed to “vote smart and box clever” to keep the Conservatives out of power.

British actor Steve Coogan, right, joins Liberal Democrat candidate Oliver Henman as they canvass in the Lewes constituency, in Lewes.
British actor Steve Coogan, right, joins Liberal Democrat candidate Oliver Henman as they canvass in the Lewes constituency, in Lewes.

Research has shown there is an apparent willingness to vote tactically to stop a Tory victory in this election.

Polling of more than 10,000 people carried out last week by Populus Data Solutions (PDS) showed Remain-backing voters could switch sides to prevent a Conservative MP being elected in their constituency.

Voters were asked how they would vote if the “only parties with a realistic chance” of beating the Conservatives were either Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

Would-be Labour voters have a higher propensity to flip their vote to the Lib Dems if it meant stopping a Tory MP getting elected where they live.

Of the voters who said they definitely would cast their ballot, 44% of Labour voters would vote Lib Dem to prevent a Tory MP getting in and this rises to 52% of Remain voters.

Of those who said they were certain to vote, 30% of those backing parties other than the Conservatives or Labour – such as the Liberal Democrats or Greens – would switch their vote to Labour in a bid to stop the Tories winning in their constituency.


What's Hot