Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said the Labour election campaign is ‘bombing’, as polls show his new party is stripping Labour of votes in key battlegrounds.
Mr Farage was speaking about Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to remain ‘neutral’ in a mooted second EU referendum, as he visited market stallholders in Hartlepool today.
He said the Labour leader’s stance, which he revealed on BBC’s Question Time on Friday, showed a ‘failure of leadership’.
Speaking as he stopped for a drink, Mr Farage said: ‘Brexit is the defining issue of our day and the leader of the Labour Party is going to abstain from that.
‘I find that astonishing. It’s a failure of leadership. It’s also a reflection that he knows his own parliamentary party are Remainers… so he’s still trying to stay on that fence and it’s not working.
‘And I think, frankly, people would say just come down on one side or the other and I think my feeling is the Labour campaign is bombing and that last night made it worse.’
It comes as a Daily Mail poll revealed that a revolt by Labour voters in the North and Midlands against Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to block Brexit could hand Boris Johnson victory in next month’s General Election.
Mr Farage was speaking about Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to remain ‘neutral’ in a mooted second EU referendum, as he visited market stallholders in Hartlepool (pictured, on a bus in the town)
Jeremy Corbyn has defended his decision to remain ‘neutral’ in a second EU referendum, saying it was a sign of ‘strength and maturity’ (pictured on Question Time last night)
A revolt by Labour voters in the North and Midlands against Jeremy Corbyn ‘s bid to block Brexit could hand Boris Johnson victory in next month’s General Election, according to a Daily Mail poll
The Tories are on course to win about 30 seats in Labour’s English heartlands on December 12 thanks to a dramatic swing against Mr Corbyn’s party since the 2017 election, according to a Daily Mail poll.
It means the Conservatives are poised to triumph in working-class seats they have rarely – if ever – held, such as Bishop Auckland, Great Grimsby, Rother Valley, Stoke-on-Trent North, Workington and Bassetlaw. All are in areas which voted to leave the EU.
Mr Farage added that the Brexit Party could win Labour seats in the election if it attracted ballots from Conservative voters.
He said patriotic voters in places like Hartlepool would vote for his party because of their view of Mr Corbyn.
He said: ‘I think the Brexit issue is huge, I think the patriotic issue is huge, I think Corbyn is not seen as being very patriotic and I think if Conservative voters in these areas realise that we’re the challenger and come to us, then we could (beat Labour), absolutely.’
The Survation poll for the Daily Mail shows that large parts of the north of England could return their first Conservative MP in generations
The Conservatives have leads of up to 20 percentage points in 43 Labour-held seats they are targeting in the North and Midlands. Mr Johnson needs a swing of just 5 per cent to gain 16 Labour seats, including Wakefield, Keighley, Barrow, Dudley North and Newcastle-under-Lyme
The seats where Nigel Farage will go head-to-head with Tories despite pleas for him to stand aside in Labour Leave-voting marginals. Because the Brexit Party is a start-up just months old, there is a shortage of reliable data on how it might perform in different seats. But most of the thirty seats had a strong UKIP showing in 2017 – even though that party had a different leader then, Paul Nuttall, and a host of different issues connected with it
Mr Farage said resolving the Brexit issue would help restore the public’s faith in politics.
‘What was interesting though, and I felt it when I did it, from the audience last night was the sheer level of hostility.
‘This is real, people are very angry with politics, their faith and trust in Parliament, politicians, has never, ever been lower and goodness me it shows.
‘This is why, actually, getting Brexit done properly will allow us to get people to believe that if they vote for something it might actually happen.’
Mr Farage arrived in Hartlepool on the Brexit Party battle bus and visited the Market Hall in Middleton Grange shopping centre.
Wearing a flat cap and calf-length wax jacket, Mr Farage spoke to a number of stallholders and bought a caramel slice and a £1.29 Christmas card for his mother.
A Survation poll, carried out after Mr Corbyn unveiled his controversial £83 billion manifesto, suggests Labour has been overwhelmingly rejected by its traditional supporters. It is the first election opinion poll this year to focus on the North and Midlands.
Remarkably, the poll also found that four in ten Labour voters (39 per cent) would be more likely to vote Labour if the party got rid of Mr Corbyn. And one in four Labour voters (23 per cent) prefer Mr Johnson’s Brexit policy.
The findings indicate that Mr Corbyn’s so-called ‘Red Wall’ of seats from North Wales to Durham will be breached by the Tories.
Labour support in the vast region has slumped by 11 points to 37 per cent since the 2017 election. The Tories are on 42 per cent – down two points since 2017. The Lib Dems are on 13 per cent, up from 5 per cent in 2017, with the Brexit Party on 7 per cent.
Mr Corbyn is paying a heavy price for his EU fence-sitting – 9 per cent of those who backed him in 2017 have defected to the pro-Brexit Tories; another 11 per cent have defected to Jo Swinson’s anti-Brexit Lib Dems.
The biggest Labour-Tory swing is in the North West, including Manchester and Liverpool, where Labour had a mammoth 19-point lead over the Conservatives in 2017. That has been slashed to just two points.
Mr Corbyn is paying a heavy price for his EU fence-sitting – 9 per cent of those who backed him in 2017 have defected to the pro-Brexit Tories; another 11 per cent have defected to Jo Swinson’s anti-Brexit Lib Dems
The Tory lead over Labour in the East Midlands has soared from ten points in 2017 to 18 points. And the Conservatives have slashed Labour’s lead in Yorkshire and The Humber region by nine points, putting them one point behind.
Crucially, the Conservatives have leads of up to 20 percentage points in 43 Labour-held seats they are targeting in the North and Midlands. Mr Johnson needs a swing of just 5 per cent to gain 16 Labour seats, including Wakefield, Keighley, Barrow, Dudley North and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
A swing of 10 per cent would see another 14 go from red to blue, including Bassetlaw, Dewsbury, Bolton North East and Darlington. A 15 per cent swing would see another 12 Labour seats captured by Mr Johnson, including the former pit village of Bolsover in Derbyshire, held by veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner, and Tony Blair’s old constituency, Sedgefield in County Durham.
Damian Lyons Lowe, of Survation, said: ‘The figures suggest that even with the Brexit Party contesting Labour-held seats, Labour is vulnerable in places it has held for decades. The effect of the disproportionate fall in Labour support in this poll will vary from seat to seat. However, the Tories will be confident of winning all target seats in the North and Midlands where they need a 5 per cent swing, many of those where up to a 10 per cent swing is required, and possibly others too.’
The North and Midlands has become the key election battleground. With the Conservatives expected to lose seats in Scotland and pro-Remain areas in London and the South, Mr Johnson must advance in the North and Midlands to win a Commons majority.
Corbyn allies say a deep-seated loathing of the Conservatives in working-class communities in the North and Midlands means they are safe for Labour.
But Johnson aides say Mr Corbyn’s Brexit ‘dither and delay’, allied to a sense that Northern and Midlands Labour voters feel alienated from his Islington brand of Left-wing politics, provides a potential breakthrough.
The poll found that Mr Johnson is regarded as best Prime Minister by 46 per cent of voters, while 30 per cent say Mr Corbyn would do a better job in No 10.
A total of 3,082 people took part in the poll in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East and North West on Thursday and yesterday