Election experts are expecting even bigger gains for the Conservatives and even larger losses for Labour at the upcoming local elections than previously predicted.
A couple of “surprising” by-election victories for the Tories in Harrow and Middlesbrough over the last couple of weeks have caused Professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher to “revise our thinking”.
Rallings & Thrasher upgrade Tory gains estimate after by-elections
In an exclusive analysis for LGC published last week, the pair predicted Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would make gains in England on 4 May, whereas Labour and UKIP face major losses.
The Middlesbrough by-election took place before prime minister Theresa May announced the snap general election, while the Harrow by-election took place afterwards.
Speaking at media briefing on the upcoming local elections on 4 May, Professor Thrasher said support for the Conservatives was “rising rapidly”.
Professor Rallings said: “Given how the narrative as changed over the last week or so, Labour might do as badly as they did in 2009.”
Back then, a comparable stage in the local election cycle, Labour won 148 seats compared to 1,251 for the Tories.
Professors Rallings and Thrasher have revised their seat predictions for the local elections, compared to the last comparable elections in 2013, to the following:
- Conservatives – gain 115
- Labour – lose 75
- Liberal Democrats – gain 85
- Ukip – lose 105
Some 2,370 seats in 34 councils across England are up for grabs. These comprise 27 county councils and six ‘former county’ unitary authorities, plus Labour-controlled Doncaster MBC. In every case the whole council is being chosen.
Meanwhile, Professor Roger Scully predicted “three figure” seat losses for Labour in the Welsh local elections with serious question marks over whether the party can maintain control of the cities of Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea. No other party in particular is expected to scoop up the vast share of the seats Labour loses in Wales though.
A Labour slump is also expected in Scotland with the SNP the biggest benificiary, according to Professor John Curtice.