Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ashcroft poll highlights PM's problem

POLITICAL sage Lord Ashcroft has delivered another piece of enthralling research, this time on 40 key marginals across the UK.

A total of 32 seats are narrowly held by the Conservatives over Labour, eight by them over coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.

The good news for Mr Cameron is that the Tories will hold those eight seats from their Liberal Democrat partners.

The bad is Labour would take the 32 seats AND a further 66 should the party notch up the 8.5 per cent swing Ashcroft has found in these marginals, enough to put Ed Miliband in Downing Street with no need for deals...

But this is no 1997 landslide in the making, more chronically worrying for Mr Cameron is Labour is so strong in these marginals because the Conservative vote has jumped ship to UKIP with Lord Ashcroft recording a rise in eight points since in the Farage vote since 2010.

In my professional life (professional? me? lol) I saw first hand the UKIP threat covering the local elections in Worcestershire in May. While UKIP did not win a seat in my patch they reduced some pretty hefty Tory majorities almost to dust.

They even kicked Tory councillors out in some parts of the county and there's the rub for the Conservatives. Accept UKIP is a problem for predominatly them to handle, they may yet win in 2015, deny it and they lose.

While Ed Miliband floats along, the Prime Minister would do well to turn the attack away from Labour and on to UKIP to try and tempt his waivering voters back. Strong leadership, real signs the economy is back off its sick bed and a concentration on core Conservative values would help.

A business focused PM, one that looked after the pennies and made people feel wealthier again and Labour are quite possibly knackered.

While I applaud the PM for his gay marriage legislation, that was a second term issue and something rushed into, a charge you can level at Mr Cameron rather a lot since 2010.

And the truth is, he really ought to tell the backbenchers to simply put up or shut up, Major did it with Redwood in 95 and was thrashed in 1997 but Miliband is not proving to be Tony Blair, at the moment.

David Cameron is already the Conservative Prime Minister who lost the unloseable election, will he be the Conservative PM who lost the country to Labour thanks to UKIP?

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