Britain’s Labour would need record vote swing to win majority, research shows

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party would need a record swing in votes to win a majority in parliament at the next national election, according to analysis published on Tuesday which looked at the country’s new electoral map.

The research, compiled by academics Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher and published by news outlets ITV, Sky, BBC and PA, looked at what the results of the 2019 national election would have been if it had been fought on new constituency boundaries to better indicate the swing needed for Labour.

The next election, expected later this year, will be the first carried out under the new boundaries, after they were redrawn to take into account population changes and to try to even out the number of voters in each area.

It found Labour would need a 12.7 percentage point swing from the governing Conservatives to win an overall majority in the House of Commons, the lower house of parliament.

That is larger than the 10.2 point swing former Prime Minister Tony Blair achieved when he led Labour to power in 1997 and more than double the swing achieved at any other election since 1945.

The swing from Conservatives to Labour would need to be uniform, with no change in other parties’ performance since 2019, the research said.  

Recent opinion polls have repeatedly shown the Conservatives trailing Labour. A YouGov poll in November put Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s party behind by 19 percentage points.

A YouGov survey of 14,000 people published by the Telegraph newspaper on Monday predicted Labour was on course to win 385 seats in parliament while the Conservatives would retain just 169, losing more seats than they did in 1997.

That would represent an 11.5% swing to Labour, the biggest collapse in support for a governing party since 1906, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)