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A by-election will take place in Wakefield, a former Labour red wall stronghold that turned blue in 2019 for the first time in 90 years, this Thursday. The Tories won the seat with an eight percent majority in the landslide 2019 general election – but recent polling shows there could be a landslide swing to Labour in the red wall seat.
The by-election was triggered when the former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed for 18 months for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
He was also expelled from the Conservative Party following his conviction.
Following a string of bad news for the Tories in recent months, it now looks likely Labour will take back one of its key seats in Thursday’s vote.
By-elections are often used as a litmus test for the Government, and along with a potential Liberal Democrat swing in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency on Thursday, the Tories could be in for an appalling week.
Wakefield by-election polls
Internal polling by Labour, according to the Sunday Times, puts the party eight percentage points ahead of the Tories before Thursday.
A damning poll shows voters could abandon the Tories in droves to elect a the Labour candidate on Thursday.
Polling by JL Partners found Labour had a 20-point advantage over the Conservatives as of June 1.
It also found that women are leading the revolt against the Tories, with 55 percent of women expected to back Labour, compared with 42 percent of men.
The poll also found that of the 519 Wakefield residents surveyed, 55 percent viewed Boris Johnson unfavourably, in comparison to 38 percent for Sir Keir.
Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed, a former teacher of 20 years, appears to remain confident however, branding the Labour surge as “a load of rubbish”.
Another poll by Survation found Labour now have a 23 point lead heading into tomorrow, suggesting Sir Keir’s party could win 56 percent of the vote and the Tories just 33 percent.
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Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged supporters not to be complacent with just a few days to go before the Wakefield by-election, telling them a victory “could be the birthplace of the next Labour government”.
He said: “It feels like we can reach out and touch this. It feels positive.
“We’ve just got to make sure we don’t take our foot off the pedal now, there’s no complacency.
“We know how hard this is. We lost in 2019. We have to earn every vote.”
Will Labour win?
A win for Labour at a by-election is a rare occurrence. The party has only won one by-election in the last 25 years.
But the former Labour stronghold, if polling is accurate, could certainly swing back to its roots given that Mr Khan won the seat with a majority of 3,358 in 2019.
The Wakefield vote will be held on the same day as the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, which was called after Tory MP Neil Parish resigned over his viewing of pornography in the House of Commons.
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