A Labour councillor has been caught removing opposition party election leaflets from the letterboxes of constituents. Footage published by the Conservative Party, taken by a Ring Doorbell, shows Councillor Tom Hayes pulling a Green party leaflet from a letterbox and replacing it with what appears to be Labour Party campaign material.
Councillor Philip Broadhead, Leader of the Conservative on Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council called for Sir Keir Starmer to take action against Cllr Hayes.
He told the Daily Express: “This sort of conduct from Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate here in Bournemouth is unacceptable, but sadly not surprising.
“Starmer needs to act now, and quite simply has to stop this person standing as a candidate in the next general election.”
More than 8,000 seats across England are being contested at the local elections today.
The Labour party is expected to make major gains in the contest today.
But polling guru Professor Sir John Curtice said Labour needs a double-digit lead over the Conservatives in order to signal that the party is heading for Downing Street in 2024.
Sir John warned that the party’s current goal – to beat Ed Miliband’s seven-point lead over the Tories in 2012 – is not enough to bestow confidence on the party.
Colin Rallings, emeritus professor of politics at Plymouth University, agreed, saying it is “accepted wisdom” that Sir Keir Starmer’s party will need a 12 percent swing from the Tories to win an overall majority at the next election.
Prof Rallings said Labour would need to replicate Sir Tony Blair’s success in the 1996 local elections, noting that the swing the party needs to win an overall majority at the general election is bigger than that achieved by Sir Tony in 1997.
Writing for the Times, Prof Sir John said that beating the seven-point swing target “would not be enough to emulate the performances of Sir Tony Blair before the 1997 general election or of David Cameron before his success in 2010”.
In a desperate attempt to manage expectations last month, the Conservative Party’s own chairman said it may lose as many as 1,000 seats.
In the May 2019 local elections, the Conservative Party lost more than 1,300 seats under Theresa May.
The result was thought to be the worst Tory local election performance in 24 years.
But pollster Prof Sir John told the Daily Express that the upcoming election could see an even worse outcome for the party.
He said, if recent polling is correct, “the Tories might end up doing worse than they did four years ago”.
Prof Sir John also cast doubt on Greg Hands’s strategy of warning that a thousand seats may be lost, saying: “Mr Hands may find that his strategy… might not work quite as well as he is hoping.”
At the moment, the Conservatives Party trails Labour by 15 points.
In May 2019, the party was six points behind.
The Labour Party and Councillor Tom Hayes have been contacted for comment.
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