DSC05159 That's according to this piece by the Guardian's political editor, Patrick Wintour.

The Conservative Party chairman, who was campaigning in the West Country today, reportedly predicts that the Conservatives will win "more than 40% of the vote" and gain "more than 100" Labour seats at the local election contests for the 27 county councils and seven unitaries up for election on 4th June .

Wintour adds that privately the Conservatives' most optimistic forecast is to win a third of the 445 seats which Labour is defending.

Yesterday, Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University wrote that the four remaining Labour-run county councils – Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire – would be lost by the party if the swing against Labour on election day reflects that currently registered by the opinion polls.

Jonathan Isaby