The party is therefore hoping for a higher-than-expected turnout of 30-40%. In 1994 when it gained a net 150 seats, the turnout was an average of 46% but recent local by-elections have produced turnouts of less than 20%.
Labour strategists concede that seats in Liverpool, Sheffield and Doncaster are vulnerable but they suspect that Liberal Democrats will not succeed in taking overall control. The situation in Hackney and Islington LBCs is said to be 'too close to call'.
Yesterday all three main parties were stepping up their campaigns with William Hague out in Croydon, which the Conservative could win with a two per cent swing.