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Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

I have to say I thought that the Conservative Election Broadcast this week was really good. As someone who’s a bit of a connoisseur of these things (having compiled a three hour VHS video of them in 1998), I thought it was quite original, a bit cheeky and showed off Boris Johnson’s character in a positive light.

However, it doesn’t really matter what I think – it matters what ordinary voters think of it. And there, the reception hasn’t been so good.

Admittedly on a sample size of five, the consensus was that it was to coin a modern word, ‘a bit cringe’. They thought it was cheesy and scripted and didn’t like the mix between light-hearted questions, and serious ones. On the bright side, everyone was talking about it – and that doesn’t happen very often with PEBs.

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On the face of it, the opinion polls look promising for a Conservative majority, but then again, they did in the first couple of weeks of the 2017 election campaign too. The way our electoral system works, pollsters seem to think there needs to be a 12 point Tory lead to guarantee a majority. Anything lower than eight, and it’s more or less impossible.

I’m not sure how accurate this is given it’s impossible to calculate the effect of the Brexit Party standing down more than half its proposed number of candidates. The one worrying thing from a Tory point of view is that no one really understands how Conservative Remainers will vote.

Will tribal loyalties prevail or will many of the four million Tory voters who voted Remain in 2016 follow the leads of David Gauke and Nick Boles and vote Liberal Democrat? If even a quarter of them do so, expect a very worrying night for the Conservatives in a whole host of seats around the M25.

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Figures out yesterday showing the worst ever A&E performance in the history of the NHS. Only 83 per cent of people were seen within the four hour target waiting time, when it should be 95 per cent. In a press release commenting on the figures, Matt Hancock blames Labour. You couldn’t make it up.

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As I write this, I’m watching a Sky News debate on transport between the Green Party’s co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, and Labour’s Rachael Maskell.

In sonorous tones, Adam Boulton told us they had asked the Conservative Party for a spokesman to take part, but “no one was available.” This happened to me earlier this week when we asked for a Conservative spokesperson to talk about the floods, but “no one was available”. It also often happens when we ask for a Labour spokesperson.

They promise us someone – and then an hour before the show is due to start, they tell us they can’t provide anyone. By contrast, I have to say the LibDems, given their lack of resources and dearth of spokespeople, always provide someone.

If political parties fail to put someone up, who do they think is going to put their case? I’m sure on occasion there really is “no one available”, but that ought to be very rare indeed. It gives a terrible impression to the viewing or listening public.

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Labour is boasting that they had 700 activists out on the streets of Chingford the other night supporting their candidate, the media-ubiquitous Faiza Shaheen. Impressive by any measure. However, I wonder if it’s proving to be counter-productive with the good burghers of Chingford & Woodford Green.

Anecdotally a couple of friends of mine who live in the constituency, who are not massive fans of Iain Duncan Smith, say they are fed up with being disturbed literally every evening either on the phone or with a knock on the door.

Quite how you organise 700 people on a canvass, I really don’t know. I always found 20 quite challenging enough to corral!

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Yesterday marked the publication of a new book I have co-edited with Jacqui Smith. It’s Volume 2 of The Honourable Ladies and covers the 327 female MPs elected between 1997 and 2019.

The first volume contained 168 biographies of female MPs elected between 1919 and 1996. It was a mammoth task to fit so many biographies into one chunky volume, but someone we’ve squeezed them all in. All the entries are written by female politicians, journalists and academics. I know it’s a cliché, but it really is a perfect Christmas present for any woman in your life with an interest in politics.

212 comments for: Iain Dale: Worryingly for the Conservative Party, it’s unclear how Tory Remainers will vote

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