Tories more concerned about Lib Dems than Labour says expert
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Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie has slapped down Keir Starmer’s gain in the Local Elections with the argument that Boris Johnson views the surge in Liberal Democrat support as the larger threat. The Conservative Party have suffered a poor election in London, with councils in Wandsworth, Barnet, and Westminister all turning to Labour, but the Liberal Democrats also made strong gains.
Mr Montgomerie told GB News: “I don’t think the Tories expected Barnet and Wandsworth to stay blue.
“I think Westminster was a shocker, that’s true.
“But overall the Tories may be wrong about this but they think they can defeat Labour.
“They don’t think the focus has been on Labour in any way that will be the case during a general election.
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“The Tories are much more worried I think about a Liberal Democrats.”
He continued: “I call them the vine weed of politics you might call them the dry rot, once they sort of have invaded an area they hold on to an area and the Tories aren’t really sure of how to beat Lib Dems over a short period of time.
“I think we’re going to see results in Somerset where every source I have tells me is going to be very bad.
“We’ve seen West Oxfordshire, we’ve seen other parts like in Wimbledon, where the Liberal Democrats are showing the kind of tenacity and invasiveness that was true sort of 10, 20 years ago before the coalition years and that will be what will really worry Tory MPs, I think.”
Local elections: Sir Ed Davey on 'very positive' Lib Dem results
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has celebrated his party’s “big gains” in the local elections which he said were due to voters seeking an alternative to the Conservatives amid cost-of-living concerns.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re making big gains from the Conservatives, gains that I think we can turn into seats in the next election…
“I said that people could use their vote to send a message to Boris Johnson that he’s not providing the leadership on the cost-of-living emergency, which is really the issue on the doorsteps that I found, and I think the real situation here is the economy is in a real mess, the Conservatives have failed to provide that leadership and people are turning to the Liberal Democrats for an alternative party”.
He also said: “The dissatisfaction amongst lifelong Conservatives with the Prime Minister was really palpable, they don’t think he’s a decent man”.
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The overall tally due later on Friday will offer the most important snapshot of public opinion since Johnson won the Conservative Party’s biggest majority in more than 30 years in the 2019 national vote.
The ballot is an electoral test for Johnson since he became the first British leader in living memory to have broken the law while in office. He was fined last month for attending a birthday gathering in his office in 2020, breaking social distancing rules then in place to curb COVID’s spread.
The loss of key councils in London, where the Conservatives were almost wiped out, will increase pressure on Johnson, who has been fighting for his political survival for months and faces the possibility of more police fines over his attendance at other lockdown-breaking gatherings.
But with indications support for his party has held up in areas of central and northern England that backed leaving the European Union in 2016, some Conservatives said Johnson’s critics were unlikely to have the numbers to trigger a coup, for now.
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