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220623 | George Eustice and Derek Thomas would lose seats in Cornwall if election held now, YouGov poll suggests

George Eustice and Derek Thomas would lose seats in Cornwall if election held now, YouGov poll suggests

As things stand the next General Election would be on May 2, 2024

Boris Johnson pictured with George Eustice at the Royal Cornwall Show 2022. According to YouGov, Mr Eustice's seat is part of the Conservative Celtic Fringe at risk of being lost to Labour
Boris Johnson pictured with George Eustice at the Royal Cornwall Show 2022. According to YouGov, Mr Eustice's seat is part of the Conservative Celtic Fringe at risk of being lost to Labour (Image: Greg Martin/Cornwall Live)

Two of Cornwall’s Tory MPs - including a government minister - would be dumped out of their seats by a landslide if an election were held now, one of the biggest polling agencies in the UK has revealed. According to YouGov, George Eustice’s Camborne and Redruth constituency and Derek Thomas’ St Ives seat could swing to Labour and Lib Dem respectively at the next General Election.

The polling agency said the two seats, which have been Tory blue since 2015 - like the other four constituencies in Cornwall - are among the so-called ‘Conservative Celtic Fringe’ seats - a group of 41 constituencies which fit under the umbrella of being in the South West region, have returned Conservative MPs since at least 2015, and voted Leave in 2016 - most at risk of changing.

YouGov says that back in 2010, many of these seats were part of a fully-fledged, long-term Liberal Democrat heartland. No fewer than 12 constituencies in the Conservative Celtic Fringe were represented by Lib Dem MPs, who campaigned hard on local issues and provided a protest voice for voters with strong regional identities, unwilling to support one of the two main British political parties. Where they did not hold the seat, the Lib Dems were pressing hard in second place, with an average vote share of 30% in the Fringe constituencies they did not win in 2010. Now, however, not a single Lib Dem MP remains in the entire region.



YouGov said these two seats could see a swing vote to the opposition parties by up to 20 points which would be a landslide victory for Labour and Lib Dem. As things stand, the next general election in the UK will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2024, that is if Boris Johnson serves his full term as Prime Minister – five years – according to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.

Patrick English, associate director of YouGov, said: “While there is some commonality in terms of potential Lib Dem strength and Conservative weakness, these seats are very different to the ‘Blue Wall’. Namely, instead of being bastions of Remain, the Conservative Celtic Fringe voted by some margin to leave the European Union in 2016. And rather than being graduate-heavy and increasingly populated by young professionals and commuters, the average age across Fringe seats is much older than in Britain as a whole, and there are far more agricultural workers per capita than the national average.

“Despite looking and sounding like exactly the sort of constituencies and voters that the Conservatives ought to be able to bank on as part of their voter coalition, rumblings in the Conservative Celtic Fringe threaten to open up a whole new front in Boris Johnson’s quest to win the next election."



He added: "Our latest YouGov figures suggest that, if an election were being held now, the Conservatives would lose 11 seats in their Celtic Fringe, with a further four on the cliff edge of falling into opposition hands.”

YouGov map showing the Conservative Celtic Fringe where some constituencies are at risk of going to Labour or Lib Dem
YouGov map showing the Conservative Celtic Fringe where some constituencies are at risk of going to Labour or Lib Dem (Image: YouGov)

YouGov said that it surveyed 800 voters in the Conservative Celtic Fringe this month, and found that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are gaining at the expense of a huge decline in Conservative support. Across all Conservative Celtic Fringe seats combined, Boris Johnson’s party received 57% of the vote in 2019, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats on 19% apiece.

According to the recent survey, the Conservatives dropped a full 19 points down to 38% of current vote intention. The Liberal Democrats are now on 22%, and Labour have climbed by five points to 24% of the vote.

If those voting intentions translated into actual votes tomorrow Labour would pick up six, the Liberal Democrats four, and the independent candidate Claire Wright would take the East Devon constituency if she were to stand again. If George Eustice, who is the environment secretary, were to lose his seat that would be a huge blow for the Conservatives as he has been in Government since the David Cameron days and is the current Secretary of State for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Mr English added: “The scale of losses which might occur in the Conservative Celtic Fringe do not come anywhere close to those in the Red Wall in 2019. But if the Tory seat total takes a hit from its South Western flank at the same time as it does in the Red Wall former Labour heartlands and across the new Blue Wall front, this Labour and Liberal Democrat pincer movement could become very costly to the Conservatives indeed.”

We have asked both Mr Thomas and Mr Eustice what they make of the YouGov poll. Derek Thomas said: "The election is unlikely to be until 2024 and it is entirely up to constituents who they choose to elect. This is the great strength of our democracy."

via https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/george-eustice-derek-tho...

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