James Brokenshire: Arlene Foster pays tribute to MP
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Old Bexley and Sidcup in southeast London have been without an MP since Mr Brokenshire died of lung cancer in October, aged 53. The seat has been Tory-held since its inception in 1983 – but polling shows this could be about to change as voters punish the Conservative Party in the wake of the sleaze scandal that rocked Westminster.
Polling across the board show the Conservative Party are losing popularity with the public, raising concerns over the December 2 by-election.
Boris Johnson himself is coming under criticism, as the sleaze scandal proves to be more than a bump in the road for the Prime Minister.
A YouGov poll from November 22 showed that 64 percent of Britons surveyed believe Johnson is doing badly as PM.
And now, with one of the safest Tory seats up for by-election, concern is growing that the party could lose the seat, proving the heady days of dominant Tory politics are over.
The Conservative candidate for the seat, Louie French, has served as deputy leader of Bexley council and works in financial services in the City.
So deep is the need for Tory politicians to distance themselves from the sleaze scandal and the Prime Minister himself, Mr French has vowed to step down from his City role if elected next week.
But will it be enough? Even if the Conservatives do manage to cling to the seat, it’s likely to give the party a good fright.
Labour candidate Daniel Francis is hoping to pick up where the Tories miss out after weeks of damaging headlines.
He told the Financial Times: “As the campaign has gone on we have heard more and more from people on how upset they are with the government around sleaze and MPs taking second jobs.
“We are certainly hearing from Conservative voters, some of whom will be staying at home and some of whom will be voting Labour next week.”
He said constituents felt “let down” by the Conservative-led council, as well as by the government, citing the six-week bin strike during the summer among other disruptions.
Anthony Wells, director of YouGov’s political and social opinion polling, said: “While no one knows what the outcome will ultimately be, a Tory hold with a significantly reduced majority wouldn’t be surprising.”
Coronavirus: Britons who refuse to wear face masks face £200 fine [INSIGHT]
Oasis tribute band trapped in Britain’s highest pub by snow blizzard [LATEST]
Evergrande collapse to make ‘immediate impact’ on UK housing market [FORECAST]
Voter turnout on Thursday is a great concern for all parties but particularly for the Tories, Mr Wells said, noting it could be a lower turnout than usual.
He said: “Getting the public enthused about the Conservatives at this point in the election cycle will be tricky.
“[The Tories] are now approaching the midterm of their leadership and we have returned to politics as usual.”
David Greenberg, 60, is a lifelong Conservative voter who has lived in Bexley all his life.
He told the BBC: “We’re all a little bit unsure about how things stand at the minute, obviously with what’s going on in Westminster, with Boris.”
He added: “Can we trust him? I don’t think so. When he opens his mouth, can we believe what he says? I don’t.”
And another local resident, Marnie Clarke, said: “We’ve always voted Conservative but we’re a bit split at the moment.”
While Shah Syed, who has lived in Sidcup for five years, used to vote Labour but switched to the Conservatives in the last election, and is now planning to switch back.
He said: “Running a country is not running a theatre – you’re dealing with people’s futures and their lives.”
Source: Read Full Article