Why London's local elections could send major shockwaves to Westminster

The Conservatives are bracing themselves for the loss of flagship councils when millions of Londoners go to the polls on Thursday.

Labour is hoping to tighten its grip on the capital by capturing Tory strongholds like Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster - writes itv.com

A recent YouGov opinion poll for Queen Mary University put Labour 22 points ahead of the Conservatives in London.

Former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd

The fallout from Amber Rudd's resignation as Home Secretary after the government's botched treatment of the Windrush generation could also boost Labour's chances.

  • BARNET

Barnet is at the top of Labour’s target list. The Tories recently lost control after a councillor quit the party, meaning Barnet is currently a hung council.

But Labour ambitions in the north London borough might be upset by the row over anti-semitism in the party. Barnet has a large Jewish population.

  • WANDSWORTH

Tory Wandsworth, once described as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council, is also at the centre of a closely fought contest.

Labour hopes in the south London borough were boosted when Marsha de Cordova captured the Wandsworth Parliamentary seat of Battersea in last year’s general election.

London is increasingly seen as a Labour city. The party controls 20 of the 32 London boroughs. A majority of Londoners also voted in favour of staying in the EU.

Conservative election strategists are trying to make it a ‘Bins not Brexit’ election by focussing on local concerns like bin collections, pot holes and council tax.

But voters could be swayed by national issues like Brexit, Labour’s anti-semitism crisis, and Windrush.

The chronic shortage of affordable housing in London is another priority for many voters.

  • KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA

Wandsworth and Westminster would be trophy wins for Labour but the holy grail is the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The Conservatives hold more than two thirds of the seats on ‘K&C’ but the authority faced widespread criticism for its handling of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Labour activists have been campaigning hard in K&C but party officials acknowledge the strength of the Tory vote in some wards makes winning the council a long shot.

Other boroughs to watch include Kingston, where the Lib Dems are challenging the Conservatives for control and neighbouring Sutton where the Tories hope to oust the Lib Dems.


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