Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Rallings & Thrasher upgrade Tory gains estimate after by-elections

  • Comment

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”.

Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher

Rallings & Thrasher upgrade Tory gains estimate after by-elections

Conservative wins in Labour-controlled Harrow and Middlesbrough point to “rapidly rising” support for the Tories

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.

Since then, the Conservatives have won by-elections in the Coulby Newham ward of Middlesbrough, and the Kenton East ward of Harrow. Both councils are Labour controlled.

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.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.