Election Daily: Big poll night

15 days to go


AT 10PM, YouGov dished out its much-anticipated MRP poll – much-anticipated because the same polling forecast some of the losses suffered by Theresa May in 2017 before they happened – and this time it was gloomy reading for Labour.

Boris Johnson, the data for The Times predicts, is on course for a majority in the House of Commons, where amongst other things he will have the numbers to take the UK out of Europe.

And yet, a little like last time, while the overall picture is not happy reading for Jeremy Corbyn’s party, the poll makes healthier consumption for Labour when zoomed into the seats we are covering in the CNJ and its sister titles, and on this blog.

For example, Tulip Siddiq might be able to put her feet up now if the figures here are correct about the Hampstead and Kilburn seat. A huge 4/6 at the bookies just a couple of weeks ago, she’s miles ahead in this data, and while the Lib Dems have talked a good game and hit the streets insisting that voters are switching to them from both Labour and the Tories, YouGov has their candidate, Matt Sanders, trailing Tory Johnny Luk.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem Chuka Umunna’s high profile decision to switch from Streatham – where he had no chance of winning with his new yellow rosette – to Two Cities, a seat where Labour were already targeting the Tories, appears to have had the predictable effect of splitting the opposition. A victory for Westminster City Council leader Nickie Aiken here is of course another vote for Boris Johnson’s withdrawal deal, so Mr Umunna appears to be deploying an interesting method of stopping Brexit.

In Finchley and Golders Green, not really my patch but always interesting, the opposition to Conservative Mike Freer again looks split and, despite lots of press, it’s not clear whether the poll actually establishes Lib Dem Luciana Berger as his chief opponent.

Any point looking at Holborn and St Pancras? Not really, apart from to note the Lib Dems nudging into second place. In the race to be the best of the rest, they were some 6,000 votes behind the Conservatives in 2017 here.

Elsewhere, Karen Buck has no reason to sweat in Westminster North, according to these polls, while the story that Emily Thornberry might be a shock loss in Islington South looks like a fantasy briefing to the right wing press.

Former Camden councillor Siobhan Baillie is on course, by this data, to make it to the Commons in Stroud as part of that predicted overall victory for the Conservatives. Meanwhile, former council election candidate and quiz champion Sanjoy Sen is involved in what could be one of the closest calls of the night. YouGov sees Alyn and Deeside, where Mr Sen is the Tory candidate, as a ‘toss-up’.

Ah, we should also see what it is saying about Bassetlaw – the place we all now know more about than we had ever done before since Sally Gimson’s removal as the Labour candidate: ‘lean’ Tory gain is the forecast.

As the old saying goes, and it’s proved particularly valuable in recent ballots, the only poll that matters is the one on December 12. You can look at YouGov’s map of Britain here in the meantime.


THE council’s webcast of Monday night’s meeting will not be going online until after the general election.

Despite some pre-game talk about not getting too party political at the last all-member session before the vote, Labour councillors turned the motion session into a free hit, taking it in turns to rail against the government’s austerity programme.

Oliver Cooper, the leader of the Conservatives, was completely outnumbered as one by one members of the ruling group stood up to attack national policy. He will be doubly frustrated because a debate on education was pulled in case it became an election contest by proxy.

So… no clips from the council’s cameras for a couple of weeks.

A council spokesperson said: “The Borough Solicitor has advised that because of pre-election period restrictions that the webcast is not put on the website until after the election. The rules apply not to council business as such but to publicity. This is widely interpreted in the law and would include the recording of the meeting which contains statements and contributions from councillors which the council would otherwise not be entitled to publicise at this time. A number of councils around London have taken the same step.”

All I can give you is some wobbly phone footage of Pat Callaghan losing her temper at reports that children are going hungry,


THE clip of Abdul Hai falling over on the ice posted on Monday has been watched a few times online. With all the shouting and comedy piano music, it’s a bit noisy – but instantly recognisable when it started playing on one councillor’s phone during the full council meeting. I suggested somebody put it on the big screen, but apparently this isn’t the done thing.


AS we know Labour has a few rebel backbenchers, but who is the most rebellious of them all? Could it be Highgate’s Anna Wright. She tore up the stuffy rules and etiquette at the Town Hall by not standing while speaking at Monday evening’s full council meeting. Oooooo.


MEANWHILE, baby in the chamber! Five-month-old baby Xerxes, son of Camden mayor Maryam Eslamdoust and fellow councillor Thomas Gardiner, seemed to enjoy his first full council meeting. Could he one day be the third generation of Councillor Gardiners: his grandfather and father both having been elected to the council.


ANYWAY, back to the race in Hampstead and Kilburn and Luciana Berger has intervened by taking time out of her own campaign in Finchley and Golders Green to send a personal letter to voters endorsing Lib Dem candidate Matt Sanders against Tulip Siddiq. To think, it’s not that long ago that they seemed good friends, having both come up through the Camden ranks to become Labour MPs. They shared similar views too, including both wanting to remain in the European Union.

Ms Siddiq has also been open that she recognises that there has been a problem with the way that Labour has handled anti-semitism complaints.

But all’s fair in love and elections, and Ms Berger’s letter calls for people to support Mr Sanders, who she describes as “a passionate campaigner against Brexit and will always stand up for Hampstead and Kilburn’s diverse communities”.

After explaining why she left Labour, she goes on: “There is no chance of the Conservatives winning in Hampstead and Kilburn. On December 12, I encourage you to vote for Matt Sanders and elect a Remain MP in a Remain Party.”


SOME of you noticed that there was no ‘election daily’ yesterday. Apologies, but the office stopped to say goodbye to Emily Finch, who has worked on the Islington Tribune for the past three years. She certainly made it a thoughtful, challenging newspaper in the tradition of the house. She’s off travelling for a bit but whoever hires her next will be glad to have her.

That all said, she made us go to an ‘escape room’ for her leaving do. Ugh, too hard for me. 


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