The seat-by-seat poll indicated Boris Johnson’s Tories are on course to end up with 359 seats, securing a hefty majority of 68, with Labour slumping to 211, losing 68 seats in the process. If accurate, the result would be Labour’s second-worst since World War 2, only eclipsed by the 1983 disaster which saw them pick up 209, with Margaret Thatcher’s Tories winning 397. The BBC, citing insiders, suggested Labour was poised to “reshape” its election strategy, having “overestimated” the threat posed by the Liberal Democrats, and “underestimated” the willingness of Leave-backing Labour voters to switch the Conservatives.
Consequently, more prominence will be given to shadow cabinet ministers who back a Leave deal rather than those who would prefer to reverse Brexit.
One of them, party chairman Ian Lavery, is reportedly ready to embark on a tour of Leave areas, with more party activists drafted in as Labour desperately tries to shore up its vote in such areas.
The emphasis will, therefore, be placed on finding a better deal, rather than simply opposing Boris Johnson’s one.
Nevertheless rather than keeping a low profile, Jeremy Corbyn – whom Brexit Party MEP Dr David Bull, a candidate in Tony Blair’s old seat of Sedgefield in the north east told Express.co.uk earlier this week was regularly cropping up on the doorstep as a reason not to vote Labour – is expected to play a prominent role in an apparent bid to reconnect with voters in Leave areas.
Quizzed by the BBC’s Naga Munchetty about the poll, Labour’s Shadow International Trade secretary Barry Gardiner admitted his party had “work to do”, adding: “I want to be ahead in the polls, I want our message to be getting through
“You can be absolutely sure that for every day every hour from now until Dec 12 Labour candidates will be out there getting our message across. We need to get this message across.”
Professor Tony Travers, of LSE London, said: “Clearly Labour fears losing ‘leave’ voters in the Midlands and the North.
“The polls appear almost stuck. This move suggests the party fears losing unless it strengthens its pro-Brexit credentials.”
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Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is changing tack to appeal to Leave voters
8.17am update: Gardiner admits Labour “have work to do”
Quizzed by the BBC’s Naga Munchetty about YouGov poll findings, Labour’s Shadow International Trade secretary Barry Gardiner admitted his party had “work to do”.
He added: “I want to be ahead in the polls, I want our message to be getting through
“You can be absolutely sure that for every day every hour from now until Dec 12 Labour candidates will be out there getting our message across.
“We need to get this message across.”
Liberal Democrat candidates Chuka Umunna and and Luciana Berger look set to be defeated next month, in what would be a further humiliating setback for Jo Swinson.
Both former Labour MPs defected from Jeremy Corbyn’s party earlier in the year to set up Change UK.
But they abandoned their new party for the Liberal Democrats after its abysmal performance in the European Parliament elections in May.
Now the judgement of the voters looks set to heap further ignominy on the two Labour outcasts.
According to the latest YouGov poll, both are trailing in the seats which they are contesting.
8.02am update: Labour hits reset button
The Labour Party has hit the reset button amid the latest polling saying the Tories are on course to win the General Election.
The party is understood to be changing tack in its campaign, particularly in Leave-voting areas, where it is in danger of losing seats to the Conservatives.
Labour insiders say a key mistake up until now was overestimating the electoral threat from the Liberal Democrats, and underestimating the likelihood of Leave voters switching from Labour to the Conservatives, the BBC has reported.
Labour’s strategy so far had been – in part – to emphasise that the election is about more than Brexit and to get voters to focus on issues which would unite Labour voters in Leave and Remain areas.
The new plan is designed to appeal to those who voted for Brexit, and to try to convince them that Labour is not attempting to stop Brexit by offering another referendum.