Boris Johnson’s electoral success in some of the most pro-Leave and working class areas of the country is already showing signs of fading, it has emerged.
Calculations by Sir John Curtice, the veteran psephologist, show a swing of more than six points to Labour in the wards with the highest concentrations of pro-Brexit voters, as well as those with the greatest proportion of working class people, compared to last year’s local election results.
Separately, senior Labour figures said that in Sunderland, where the Leave vote was 61 per cent, claims in recent years that the Conservatives could take control of the council were now seen as “completely ridiculous”.
While much of the focus of Conservative MPs has been on the fall of Tory-run councils such as Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet in London, along with Monmouthshire in Wales, Sir John’s analysis appears to show a more subtle ebb of the tide in voting figures in some of the areas most coveted by the Tories under Mr Johnson’s premiership.
Mr Johnson swept back into Downing Street in December 2019 with an 80-strong majority following a general election campaign in which he appealed to voters in Labour heartlands with pledges to “get Brexit done” and “level up” the country.
Many traditional Labour constituencies, such as Darlington, Sedgefield and Workington, returned Conservative MPs for the first time in decades, or for the first time since their creation.
Analysis of last week’s results by Sir John, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, shows an overall swing of 4.2 points from Labour to the Conservatives in the country’s most pro-Leave wards between 2016, shortly before the EU referendum, and last week. At the same time there was a swing of 5.4 points from the Conservatives to Labour when looking at the most pro-Remain wards.
But, comparing the 2021 council election results, under Mr Johnson’s premiership, to last week’s performance, there was a swing of 6.4 points from the Conservatives to Labour in the most pro-Leave wards – where support for Brexit was 60 per cent or higher – and a swing of 3.6 points to Labour in the most pro-Remain areas.