Boris in trouble: Tory ‘sleaze’ sees Labour edge ahead in race to win ‘red wall’ seats

Boris Johnson insists he is 'focussed on stuff that matters'

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On Thursday, voters across England will cast their ballots to elect new councils and mayors. The Labour leader will be hoping to recapture the 43 “red wall” seats that Boris Johnson won in the December 2019 General election, and thereby strengthen his position as leader. Up until now, national polling data has pointed to a clear Tory lead over Labour, suggesting an electoral romp for the Conservatives come Thursday.

An Opinium poll published in the Observer on Saturday gave the Tories a five point lead over Labour, while a YouGov poll last week for The Times had the Conservatives enjoying an 11-point gap over their bitter rivals.

However, in a sign that the various sleaze scandals involving the Prime Minister may now be starting to cut through to voters, a new survey for The Sunday Times shows the Tories’ national lead over Labour down to just one point.

In addition, the Focaldata poll gives Sir Keir a narrow lead over the Tories in the vital “red wall” seats, with Labour on 45 percent and the Conservatives on 44 percent.

The survey found that 32 percent of red wall voters were also less likely to vote for the Conservatives than a month ago.

Justin Ibbett, chief executive of Focaldata, said: “This polling should deeply worry Boris Johnson.

“It suggests the issue of Tory sleaze is cutting through to the public and seriously damaging his standing — and his party’s.”

Mr Johnson has become embroiled in a number of “sleaze” scandals over the past couple of weeks.

The most damaging one involves the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat and allegations that the costs were met by private donors.

Mr Johnson has vehemently denied any wrong doing and during last Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions insisted that he had “covered the costs.”

Sir Keir sought to drive home the theme of Tory sleaze over the final weekend of campaigning.

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The Labour leader claimed that the Tories were “hopelessly distracted by sleaze and scandal”.

Writing in the Northern Echo, he said: “The Prime Minister may not know the value of the pound in his pocket, but we know you do.

“The least people should be able to expect from their government is that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely.”

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