John Curtice: Labour Not Even On Course to be Largest Party at General Election on These Results
Election expert John Curtice is dampening Labour’s local election results excitement this morning, telling the BBC the party should be “somewhat disappointed” despite their victories in Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet. North London’s remainer lawyer has done well in London elections shocker…
“Yes Labour have certainly made progress as compared with last year, but last year was a very poor performance so four points up on last year was not exactly surprising.
I think therefore this is certainly not a local election performance that in any sense indicates a party that is on course for winning a general election with an overall majority, indeed I’m not sure whether we could even say that at this point it’s guaranteed or necessarily on course even to be the largest party in the next parliament.”
Ahead of the overnight results, psephologists told us a good night for Labour would be gains of over 200, whereas the Tories would need to lose fewer than 350 to salvage any glimmer of hope. According to Curtice again, Labour has currently won net gains of just 40 seats. Though there’s a long way to go yet, with Scotland and Wales having only just begun counting.
As Guido expected, far too large an emphasis is being placed on London by the media – at both parties’ expenses. Labour has in fact pulled off a surprising coup in Cumberland – arguably a more important gain than Wandsworth – taking it from the Tories where they have three MPs, including those representing ‘Workington Man’. They’ve also won seats in Dudley, Derby, Southampton and Chorley. Actual battlegrounds.
Meanwhile not all hope is lost for the Tories. Despite the dreadful national headlines they’ve picked up seats in Nuneaton, West Bromwich, Thurrock, Basildon, Amber Valley and Hartlepool. Long and short is Labour may be overplaying their success in England, and there’s not enough bad news for a 1922 Boris leadership vote. Scotland and Wales will be different stories…