The Tories are set for a hammering in the nation’s capital in May with voters in flagship London boroughs set to turn out for Labour.
A new poll reveals that Labour could wrestle control of Westminster and Wandsworth council from the Tories in what would be huge blow to the party’s London power base.
According to research conducted for the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University of London, 54% of Londoners are planning to back Labour on May 3 – a figure that would give Jeremy Corbyn the highest vote share of any party in the council elections in the capital since 1968.
Worryingly for the Tories, 78% of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) voters are expecting to support Labour, compared to just 12% who would back the Conservatives.
The loss of Wandsworth would be particularly symbolic, as it was Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council thanks to its low poll tax rates – even scrapping in at zero in some years.
The poll shows that Labour’s support in inner London stands at 67%, compared to just 17% for the Tories.
Labour also leads in outer London boroughs, but by 47% compared to 34% for the Conservatives.
That translates to a 13.4 per cent swing to Labour in inner London since 2014, and a 4.2% swing in outer London over the same period.
Philip Cowley, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary and Director of the Mile End Institute, said: “This is not just because inner and outer London have voted differently in the past – it is also because the swing from the Conservatives to Labour between 2014 and today is much greater in inner London.”
The Liberal Democrats are on to 11 per cent in the London-wide poll, almost identical to their vote in 2014, but they are up by two percentage points in Greater London where they have hopes in Conservative-controlled Kingston and Richmond.
Professor Cowley added: “On paper, these swings mean Kensington and Chelsea should remain safe for the Conservatives, but the post-Grenfell situation here means I would advise caution.
“Basically, this poll means that the Conservatives are facing difficulties in almost every London council they still control.”
Asked which issues will determine how they vote, 33% say housing, 29% say local services and facilities, and 28% say health.
When it comes to the performance of their own council, more London voters think their own council is currently doing a good job - 47% say ‘Very’ or ‘Fairly Good’ - compared to 29% who say ‘Fairly’ or ‘Very Bad’.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,155 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 and 15 February 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules.