Boris Johnson and Justine Greening are among the high-ranking Conservative MPs whose seats Labour are targeting in May’s local elections.
A leaked list of the local authorities where the Party will be directing resources and activists show Labour HQ is optimistic that its high poll ratings will mean major gains in council seats next year.
The Education Secretary, Greening, will be particularly concerned, having held onto her seat of Putney in June by just 1,500 votes, while Momentum activists held campaign days in Johnson’s seat over the summer after his majority was cut to 5,000. Fellow London Tories Theresa Villiers, Matthew Offord, and Mike Freer will also not welcome the news, given their majorities all hover around the 1,000 mark.
Following the surge of support for Labour in the capital in June’s General Election, the Party now expect to gain Barnet and Wandsworth, and will also be focussing attention on Bexley, Hillingdon, and Westminster, which has been run by the Conservatives since its creation in 1964.
However, supporters will be disappointed to learn that Kensington and Chelsea is not on the list, despite Emma Dent-Coad’s shocking victory earlier this year. Following that result and the council’s much-criticised response to the fire at Grenfell Tower, Labour had been tipped with an outside chance of taking charge of the local authority in May.
Elsewhere in the country, Dudley, Amber Valley, Carlisle, and Plymouth all look certain to swing to Labour, with Swindon, Worcester, and Walsall also more than likely to change hands.
Labour polled just 31% in the last round of these elections four years ago, prompting then-Leader Ed Miliband to come under serious criticism from some MPs for not doing enough to tackle the rising support for UKIP. From such a low base, Jeremy Corbyn must be expecting his first good council election results of his leadership in just under six months time.
By Garry Knight [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons