Local elections 2022: Beergate could cost Labour votes

Voters could punish Keir Starmer & Co at ballot box in local elections over ‘beergate’ revelations, experts say

  • ‘Beergate’ may hurt Labour at the ballot box in the week’s local elections
  • Tory peer and polling expert Lord Hayward said the Partygate impact is waning 
  • He said Tories may do well in Bury, Sunderland, Nuneaton and Walsall 
  • Labour leader Keir Starmer has denied he breached Covid 19 rules in lockdown 

‘Beergate’ may hurt Labour at the ballot box in this week’s local elections, experts predicted last night.

Tory peer and polling analyst Lord Hayward said: ‘Beergate is dissipating the impact of Partygate. Two or three days ago, not many people knew about it but now there’s no question that they do. Keir Starmer has had a tough time from the broadcasters and was unable to say whether it was an error after bashing Boris for making errors.’

He added: ‘There is no question that southern England’s Waitrose Radio 4 Tories have been more angry about Partygate. But the existence of Beergate will have an impact to the extent that the anger will be aimed across all parties.’

Voters in the north of England and the midlands are mentioning ‘Beergate’ on the doorsteps, according to a Tory Party peer

The Beergate scandal could cost Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour party, pictured, votes

He said seats to watch were Bury, Sunderland, Nuneaton and Walsall, where the Tories might do well. Sir Keir has denied that he broke Covid rules after pictures emerged of him swigging beer with colleagues last year. Tory activists said Beergate was starting to come up on doorsteps in the Midlands on Friday.

In Stoke, they said, locals quoted ‘Beergate’ back to canvassers, saying of politicians: ‘They’re all the same, aren’t they.’

Lord Hayward He said that there were two effects that the saga could have on voters ahead of Thursday’s local elections.

Firstly, it could convince wavering Tories who are angry about lockdown parties in Number 10 to vote, he said.

But he said the bigger impact could be that the public takes the view of politicians that ‘they’re all the same’, which could hurt both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

He said that Mr Johnson was likely to retain support in the Red Wall where Number 10 lockdown party issues are not cutting through.

‘In your more white collar former industrial belt, there is less of an impact from Partygate. The Red Wall areas will hold up,’ he said.

‘Labour will have a bigger problem here. The party has still not got over being seen as toxic because of Jeremy Corbyn.

‘Going back to Labour is going to be more difficult for people.’

He said there will be ‘less damage’ from Partygate revelations in these areas because they see issues like Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis as more important.

‘They have a different perspective which is why in the home counties the impact [from Partygate] is greater in the midlands and north,’ he said.

‘Ukraine and cost of living is more salient there, and I think there is still a hangover from the vaccine bounce.

‘They are much less likely to swing against the Tories. Boris Johnson can expect there will be less damage in those areas.’

He also suggested that the Tories faced ‘southern discomfort’ in its traditional ‘blue wall’ shire and home county council seats.

He warned that the areas most at risk were those whose voters were middle-class, Remain-oriented, well-educated and women.

Hertfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Solihull and Trafford and other commuter belt areas are likely to lose votes to other parties, he warned.

However, he said that Labour was unlikely to be the main beneficiary of this, with the Liberal Democrats and Greens picking up council seats from them.

Lord Hayward said: ‘The Tories face in the home countries what might be described as southern discomfort as the Lib Dems, Greens and other residents’ groups may take council seats off them in their heartlands.’

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