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A cunning ruse to persuade Corbyn to give Boris Johnson his early election or a damning indictment of the Cummings & Johnson strategy?

September 9th, 2019

Conservative MPs won’t want an early election if this polling is accurate

Sky News have an interesting story for anyone betting on or expecting an early election.

Downing Street has seen polling which suggests Boris Johnson would not win an election outright, according to a senior Tory adviser who lost his job at the weekend.

Polling and modelling discussed by senior Number 10 figures suggests the Tories would win about 295 to 300 seats in an election.

This is short of the 325 needed for an outright majority, and would likely mean more gridlock and uncertainty in parliament.

After Boris Johnson removed the whip from 21 Tory MPs who rebelled last week, and after Amber Rudd resigned as well, the Tories now have 288 MPs who formally take the whip.

Jason Stein, Amber Rudd’s former special adviser, said that the polling – carried out in the last two weeks – suggests “we are looking at picking up roughly 295 to 300 seats”.

He said that top advisers like Dominic Cummings are privately upfront about the scale of the electoral challenge ahead, adding: “Number 10 themselves will privately tell you, this will be a tough election, they’re not expecting this to be the land of milk and honey.

“It is just the simple fact that we’re going to lose seats in London, in the South West, in Scotland… They need to be replaced, they’re already 10 behind, we to win 35 seats in areas we’ve never won before just to break even.”

I take the view that private polling should be dismissed unless the data tables and methodology notes of the poll has been published. My initial thought this may be a ruse to lure Jeremy Corbyn into switching positions and backing a general election in October but I thought this is too transparent and Corbyn isn’t that gullible is he?

What is interesting is that this polling seems to chime in with the majority of the polls published over the weekend that indicated the Conservatives would fail to win a majority. This also appears to confirm the publicly available polling in Scotland which indicates the gains in 2017 are set to be largely undone, with one poll indicating the Conservatives would match their ‘sensational’ 1997 general election performance in Scotland.

For a while someone who I respect in the world of professional politics has been saying to me if the Conservatives are losing Scotland with this approach they risk losing a plethora of seats to the Liberal Democrats in England as there will be similar political tectonic plates shifting in the circa 80 Conservative held seats that voted Remain. When you’re polling as low as 29% in the polls you lead in this is a courageous strategy by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.

Also you have remember polls aren’t static, as we saw in 2017 a general election campaign can shift votes and Boris Johnson generally doesn’t have any of the stratospheric poll leads Mrs May had in April and May 2017.

Anyone betting on a Conservative majority at the next election will undoubtedly be worried by the strategy of Cummings and Johnson, both short term and long term as they appear to salting the ground for the Conservative party.

TSE