You wait ages for a campaign gaffe, then loads coming along at once. Labour was having a good run with a strong focus on the NHS, and Boris Johnson’s true colours had been revealed with the truly weird phone-pocketing incident. But then right-wing website Guido Fawkes leaked a recording of Jon Ashworth criticising Jeremy Corbyn and talking down Labour’s chances of winning. It turns out the Shadow Health Secretary was chatting with a mate, who happens to be a local party Tory chair… and not a friend at all. Oh, Jon. Perhaps Laura Pidcock is wise to avoid banter with Conservatives.
This morning, the Prime Minister appeared to hide in a fridge. It is already being called #fridgegate. That was after his press secretary Rob Oxley swore when a Good Morning Britain reporter tried to ask Boris Johnson some questions. Frankly, I don’t believe either Ashworth or the PM’s recent gaffes will make much difference. The public already knows that Corbyn has many critics in his parliamentary party, and already see Johnson as a clown who avoids scrutiny.
It wasn’t all bad news for Labour yesterday. Ashworth pressed on to continue his media rounds throughout the day, which seemed to take the sting out of the Guido story a little. And at 10pm, YouGov’s final large-scale MRP poll was released. The last one projected that Labour would secure 211 seats, handing the Tories a majority of 68, but the fresh research indicates Labour is set to secure 231 constituencies. YouGov data still points to a Tory majority, but a reduced one at 28, and Labour activists are keen to take heart from the fact that a hung parliament is within the margin of error. It also shows that Labour is on track to win Chipping Barnet and Putney.
Whether you trust this poll to be accurate or not, it does provide us with some important information on the penultimate day of campaigning. The first key point: the polling trends are favourable to Labour. It is the movement that counts. That’s what has made John McDonnell conclude: “We’re in striking difference of a Labour government.” The Tories are basically maxed out – “at a high watermark”, as John Curtice puts it – while support for Corbyn’s party still has room to grow. This brings us to our crucial conclusion: the ground game is more important than ever. Labour’s get-out-the-vote operation really will make a difference. Turnout on the day is everything.
I must emphasise again that Labour needs your help in seats outside of London. Putney and Chingford are already attracting literally hundreds of canvassers. The party membership is skewed towards big cities and the South. If you’ve taken the day off work today and/or tomorrow, plan a journey. Labour is doing well in Remain areas, and already has plenty of people power there too.
Instead of visiting your favourite candidate (or even nearest marginal if you’re in London), look at our list of key Labour Leave defence seats. We are in danger of losing heartland seats such as Bolsover, and frontbenchers like Jenny Chapman. Check out our analysis of the latest YouGov data, then visit Momentum’s tool for an indication of where to avoid because the party is already well served there by signed-up activists. Get your warmest gear on, and make a difference.
- Jeremy Corbyn makes campaign stops this afternoon in Rother Valley, Ashfield, Bedford
- Labour’s eve of poll rally in east London (8pm)
- Find out where you should go on Thursday with mypollingday.com