In Depth

Four things that would have to happen for Labour to win the election

Labour is creeping up the polls - but more is needed to secure victory

The latest voting intention polls put the Conservatives on track to win a majority at next week’s general election.

A YouGov/Times poll this week put the Tories on 42% compared with Labour’s 33%, a slight closing of the gap since the last survey, which showed an 11-point lead for Boris Johnson’s party.

Labour should be heartened by the boost to their polling figures, but will need a much bigger hike in order to win the most seats on 12 December.

Win over Remainers

Corbyn’s inability - or unwillingness - to give a clear position on Brexit has plagued the party ever since the June 2016 EU referendum.

However, Labour has clarified its EU policy and says it would back a second referendum. If elected, a Labour government would renegotiate a softer Brexit deal within three months of taking power, and then put that deal to a public vote within a further three months. Remain would also be an option on the ballot paper.

According to a Deltapoll survey, the policy is popular with the public, with 42% in support and 36% opposed, The Guardian reports.

It should be clear to “progressive people who want to stay in Europe that only Labour can deliver that outcome, and do so democratically”, says the New Statesman’s Paul Mason.

If Labour can win the votes of the Remain supporters who defected to the Lib Dems and Greens in the 2017 general election and 2019 European elections, they will be on course for a major boost.

Woo Labour Leavers

Labour’s biggest problem in this so-called “Brexit election” has been the loss of traditionally Labour-supporting Leave voters, who are abandoning the party for the more Eurosceptic Conservatives or Brexit Party.

To win the election - or even come close - Labour will have to woo voters concerned about the EU’s influence on the UK and the nation’s levels of immigration.

The Conservatives currently have a 15-point lead over Labour among pro-Brexit voters, according to polling expert John Curtice.

Attack Johnson

The Tory leader should be a fairly easy target: he’s admitted to using cocaine, was recorded conspiring to beat up a journalist, and refuses to say how many children he has fathered.

Johnson has also come under fire repeatedly for using racist language. As MP for Henley in 2002, he said the Queen had “come to love the Commonwealth” because it “supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies”.

More recently, he has referred to Muslim women as “letterboxes”, and said money spent on historical child abuse investigations was being “spaffed up a wall”.

In a further blunder, during his reign as foreign secretary, Johnson said that jailed British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “teaching people journalism” when she was detained in Tehran in 2006. Iranian officials cited his words as evidence that she had engaged in “propaganda against the regime” and she was threatened with the doubling of her five-year prison sentence.

Many political pundits believe that if Labour ditched their soft approach and went on the attack over these many gaffes, they could inflict some damage on Johnson.

Tory self-sabotage

With Labour and the Tories the two clear front-runners, the greatest chance of Labour winning the election might be through an act of significant self-sabotage by the Conservatives.

In 2017, Theresa May announced plans for a controversial shake-up of social care that was branded a “dementia tax” amid fears that it could deter older people from seeking care.

The proposal went down badly on the doorstep and may have contributed to her poor showing at the subsequent election.

Labour will be keeping their fingers crossed that the Tories make a similar blunder in the final week of the election campaign.


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