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Half of Londoners now support Labour ahead of next week’s local elections, a new poll has revealed – but Sir Keir Starmer has been warned his party could still struggle to make gains in councils in the capital and across the country.

A YouGov survey for Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End Institute revealed Labour has built up a 27-point lead over the Conservatives in the capital.

The poll put Labour on 50 per cent, more than twice as high as the Tories on 23 per cent, with the Liberal Democrats on 12 per cent and Greens on nine per cent.

According to the survey, support for Labour was even greater in inner London, where Labour was on 63 per cent.

This was 50 points ahead of the Tories on 13 per cent.

But Sir Keir was warned Labour’s huge support in London might not result in many electoral advances on 5th May.

This is due to 2018, when most of the English council seats being fought for next week were last contested, being a high water mark of Labour’s recent performance.

Half of Londoners now support Labour ahead of next week's local elections, a new YouGov survey for Queen Mary University of London's Mile End Institute has revealed

Half of Londoners now support Labour ahead of next week's local elections, a new YouGov survey for Queen Mary University of London's Mile End Institute has revealed

Half of Londoners now support Labour ahead of next week’s local elections, a new YouGov survey for Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End Institute has revealed

According to the survey, support for Labour was even greater in inner London, where Sir Keir Starmer's party was on 63 per cent

According to the survey, support for Labour was even greater in inner London, where Sir Keir Starmer's party was on 63 per cent

According to the survey, support for Labour was even greater in inner London, where Sir Keir Starmer’s party was on 63 per cent

Dr Patrick Diamond, director of the Mile End Institute, told the Evening Standard: ‘Our new research shows that Labour is set to perform significantly better than the Conservatives in the forthcoming London borough elections.

‘Support for the Conservatives across the city has fallen sharply since the local elections in 2018, however, Labour’s vote does not look set to advance beyond its successes that year, when it performed particularly strongly.’

Philip Cowley, a Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London, said that Labour could steal the London boroughs of Barnet and Wandsworth from the Tories next week.

‘Any gains will not be massive, however – not least because Labour did well in London the last time these councils were contested in 2018, in what was then the best result since 1971, and it therefore has relatively limited scope to make further advances,’ he added.

Other election gurus have also suggested it will be hard for Labour to make huge headway across the UK next week, despite the Conservatives’ current woes over the Partygate scandal.

Tory MPs have expressed fears of an election trouncing on 5th May, as voters use the ballot box make their displeasure known at Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street.

But psesphologists Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher have suggested it could be Sir Keir who will be under pressure for an ‘underwhelming’ performance once the votes are counted.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been warned his party could struggle to make gains at next week's local elections. This is due to Labour's strong showing in 2018, when many of the council seats were last contested

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been warned his party could struggle to make gains at next week's local elections. This is due to Labour's strong showing in 2018, when many of the council seats were last contested

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been warned his party could struggle to make gains at next week’s local elections. This is due to Labour’s strong showing in 2018, when many of the council seats were last contested

A number of Conservative MPs are said to be reserving their judgement on Boris Johnson's future in Number 10, following the Partygate scandal, until the local election results are known

A number of Conservative MPs are said to be reserving their judgement on Boris Johnson's future in Number 10, following the Partygate scandal, until the local election results are known

A number of Conservative MPs are said to be reserving their judgement on Boris Johnson’s future in Number 10, following the Partygate scandal, until the local election results are known

In an article, the pair also highlighted the performance of Labour in 2018 – when the party were led by Jeremy Corbyn against Theresa May‘s Conservatives.

They described how, at the time, Labour were just one point behind the Conservatives in national polls and went on to give their best showing at local elections since 2012.

Writing for the Local Government Chronicle, Professor Rallings and Professor Thrasher said Sir Keir ‘will do well to avoid making standing still, rather than picking up gains, seem rather underwhelming when the post-mortem takes place’.

They added: ‘For the Conservatives, by contrast, the less dramatic the results, the more they can claim not to be suffering traditional “mid-term blues”.’

If Boris Johnson does see the Tories avoid a miserable result next week, the pressure on the Prime Minister’s position could ease.

A number of Conservatives are said to be reserving their judgement on Mr Johnson’s future in Number 10, following the Partygate scandal, until the local election results are known.

A high point of Labour’s success in 2018 was in London and Prof. Rallings and Prof. Thrasher wrote that, following the result in the capital four years ago, ‘it may be hard for Labour to make much headway or for the Conservatives to fall much further’.

Outside of the capital, the pair said that Labour’s troubles in its traditional heartlands had become clearer in the years after 2018.

‘In 2019 and 2021… the party’s “Red Wall” problems became more evident with both its vote share and seat haul falling sharply,’ they wrote.

‘In these and other areas, Labour will now be looking for signs that those voters who deserted the party in 2019 and after are being driven by more than their views on Brexit.

‘It needs just two gains to secure a majority in Kirklees metropolitan borough council, for example, but improving on its performance of four years ago is a big ask.’

They added that Labour had also been suffering Red Wall ‘issues’ in Wales.

And, in Scotland, they said both Labour and the Tories will ‘each now want to put a brake on the SNP in different parts of the country’.

‘For example, in 2017 the Conservatives gained some 150 seats with Labour falling back by nearly the same margin,’ they said.

‘The Conservatives are probably in defensive mode following their success last time, but Labour really must look to make gains.’

Source: Daily Mail

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