By-election maps have spelt out the potential for a Tory wipeout this week as the Government contests three vacant seats.
Rishi Sunak risks electoral catastrophe on July 20, when his party wrestles with Labour and the Liberal Democrats in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome.
Maps have summarised the Conservative Party’s polling position and how devastating defeat could prove for the Government, with just one year until the next General Election.
Figures suggest the Prime Minister and his allies could face a national defeat as the polls extend to the rest of the country in 2024.
But they also expose a mountain Labour must climb to place Sir Keir Starmer as Mr Sunak’s successor.
The UK’s main parties will contest seats held by ex-PM Boris Johnson, one of his closest allies, and a suspended Tory MP on July 20.
Mr Johnson vacated his seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip following the results of his Privileges Committee investigation, while his ally Nigel Adams has stepped down from Selby and Ainsty and suspended MP David Warburton resigned from his post in June.
Labour faces an uphill battle in the latter two constituencies, where the Tory majority is above the national average.
The MPs boasted majorities of 20,137 and 19,219, respectively, nearly 10,000 votes beyond the 12,527 UK average, meaning Labour needs an 18-point swing to clinch the constituencies.
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Polling suggests the party can swing at least 16 points, and its seven-day averages show the country is behind Sir Keir.
The party has a 20 percent lead over the Tories, with polls showing support levels sit at 45 percent, nearly double the incumbent’s 25 percent.
The support means that Labour could gain up to three new seats, with Mr Johnson’s former seat being highly achievable.
While Labour has lost support in the west London constituency – with 28 percent of the vote to Mr Johnson’s 53 percent in 2019 – the party’s new candidate, Danny Beales, requires a much smaller eight-point swing to win.
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Losing those few seats would mean the Conservatives hit an unwanted milestone not seen since the 20th century.
The last time a party lost this many seats was in 1968, with then-PM Harold Wilson.
Analysis of House of Commons election statistics conducted by the Institute for Government found that the loss contributed to a more than 15 percent decrease in Labour’s vote share between 1966 and 1970.
If the same should happen to Mr Sunak, he risks becoming part of a trend that could see him lose Number 10 in 2024.
Unsurprisingly, sitting parties typically lose a significant amount of their share during by-elections before they are voted out of office in a General Election.
From 1992 to 1997, similar by-election forfeitures saw Margaret Thatcher’s share plummet by 20 percent, a sizeable loss not seen since before 1945.
Tony Blair became Prime Minister during the 1997 elections, and Labour lost 10 percent of its vote share during by-elections held during his third term between 2005 and 2010 before the party was voted out.
Between 2017 and 2019, when the Tories narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, the party lost nearly 15 percent of its share, and a similar loss this week could place it in similar peril and within range of a General Election loss next year.
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