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MP with a Northern seat

“The local elections are looking very positive. Almost like 2019 positive – we don’t seem to have lost any support. If anything, people are even more ardently supporting us than they did in 2019. There’s a lot of understanding that, yeah, we’ve not got everything right in the last year, but I think the understanding is that no one would have done…They’re extremely happy with the vaccine roll out. I think a lot of things we’ve been focusing on – whether that’s more police on the street, more money for education, all these manifesto commitments, the people’s priorities if you will – they all seem to be landing very well. Until yesterday, I had one email about the curent allegations. It doesn’t seem to be resonating with anyone, but I imagine at some point it may well do.”

MP with a Midlands seat

“The PCCs are too remote. It might work well enough for an urban area, but when they cover three rural counties it’s another matter. They don’t live in my community or visit, and nobody wants to deliver the leaflets or raises it on the doorstep. At a time when we’re supposed to be bringing power closer to people, they need to be rethought. The council elections on the other hand are going very well – we’re seeing a big shift towards the Conservatives in blue-collar areas and expect to gain a seat or two from Labour. Nobody is raising the ‘sleaze’ stuff, which is seen as a smoke screen to try and prevent what will be a spectacular result in Hartlepool.”

MP with a Southern seat

“It’s been an odd election because there’s been a lot of deliveries, less speaking to people than would otherwise have been…  People from what I’ve seen are interested in the recovery and getting London sorted out. They don’t think Sadiq Khan’s had a very good pandemic. A lot of this will be about turnout and motivation as well, because London elections are traditionally a low-turnout election.  We’ve got the London Assembly as well, so it’s important that we get good representation… so whatever happens we can scrutinise. Genuinely haven’t seen any of it (complaints about Tory sleaze). I’ve had next to nothing in my inbox and nothing on the doorsteps. It’s frustrating to keep reading about it all.”

MP with a Northern seat

“Traditionally in my area, Labour have always over-performed at local government compared to national elections. So I think there’s a very strong turn out game in the elections and it’s going to be quite interesting to see how it plays out this time. PPC is going to be down to the wire at this time, but I think that Ben Houchen down in Teesside is in with a good chance, despite obviously it being a very very tight fight. Not getting huge amounts on [Tory sleaze] at the moment… There’s always a danger of us looking disconnected from the lives of ordinary people, so we just need to be very careful about it.”

MP with a Midlands seat

“I’m expecting mixed results. Gains from Labour but losses to the LibDems. Lots of local factors – where the Lib Dems are campaigning hard and we are complacent. Or, I’m afraid, where you have tribal voting from ethnic groups according to the candidate that is put up. I really don’t think the recent headlines will have an impact. Boris making some outrageous comment is factored in. The only time it was raised with me was at a St George’s Day party in a pub and someone said it was good that Boris had intervened with Dyson to get the ventilators.”

MP with a Southern seat

“I don’t think it’s looking too bad. The PCC election is pretty much safe, and although we have a staunchly Labour council I think with a good wind we could do well. Up until the last few days there has been little sign of the stories from Westminster breaking through on the doorstep, and normally we get asked about almost anything. Even the usual suspects are complaining much less than they did when Dominic Cummings drove to Barnard Castle. I think that people here, whilst not anti-lockdown, are hugely appreciative of the successful vaccine rollout and unlocking.”

MP with a Northern seat

“It all seems to be going fine.  On our local council, we have elections in third.  In the Police Commissioner election – well, don’t ask me: I’d happily abolish the lot of them tomorrow.  The poll is basically in the best part of my constituency, some wards have slim majorities and we’ve a narrow hold on the council.  Postal votes are apparently above average for a local election.  As for all the Westminster fluff, it’s not having any impact that I can see, and I’ve not had a single e-mail about it.  It might make a few more people sit on their hands, I suppose. As for Hartlepool, if we lose, it will be because the work hasn’t been put it over the years.  I was out and about recently in Seaton Carew, a prosperous village on the edge of the seat, and it was clear that there’s been no significant push there in the recent past.”

MP with a Midlands seat

“Labour’s the main opponents for us and I think it is a question of Labour doing badly rather than us doing well. There are quite a few
Corbynistsas in the Labour Party in my town. So Starmer’s leadership has caused a split. But alienating Corbynistas has not been enough for him to win back traditional Labour supporters. All the woke stuff is still there and is going down badly. But my sense is that recent events have been damaging. It is not that people mention wallpaper or Dominic Cummings specifically but there is a sort of groan. Some of my
parliamentary colleagues ignore the cumulative impact. It’s not just if one day’s headline changes an opinion poll the next day. It’s not
even Conservatives switching to Labour. In local elections, it’s motivating your supporters to vote. But there’s a groan on the doorstep.”

MP with a Southern seat

“The mayoral and PCC elections should be fine. That sentiment is boosted by the national polls but the nature of the county means there should be a Conservative majority. The county and district councils are another matter however. We’ve got areas with really strong Liberal Democrat support, and in places Labour have pulled out which makes a tough fight even harder. In these races, victory would be holding our ground, and we’re braced for losses. However, the ‘Tory sleaze’ stuff doesn’t seem to have cut through as yet – it’s only raised by people we know wouldn’t be voting for us anyway.”

MP with a Northern seat

“Lancashire County County is a key marginal, and I’m reasonably confident of the result.  There’s not much sign of Labour, and I don’t think that claims of “Tory sleaze” are cutting through at all.  I really can’t remember how many e-mails I’ve had about it, but it really won’t be very many, and they’ll come from the usual suspects.  Labour spent much more on Downing Street decoration, and Boris has put his hand in his own pocket.  So what’s the problem?”

MP with a Midlands seat

“It sees to going very well and, although it could all go pear-shaped, no-one outside London no-one gives a damn about these allegations. – Andy Street won the West Midlands mayoralty last time round by 100 votes per parliamentary seat, and I think that his vote will go up.  He’s basically seen as Conservative Plus Plus Plus because of his business background, which voters know about now if they didn’t last time round.  He appears to be doing particularly well in the Black County.  Obviously, turnout will matter a lot, and from tomorrow I’ll have my nose properly to the campaigning grindstone.”

MP with a Southern seat

“There hasn’t been a problem over rudeness to John Lewis or any of those associated matters. What worries me more is the importance of
postal voting. There will be a low turnout and that gives an advantage to those best organised with postal votes – which I gather is the
Labour Party. If people are worried about going to polling stations due to coronavirus and generally in a mood of apathy it makes it
harder to call. The canvassing I’ve done suggests Labour doing pretty badly. That’s the political fundamental. My anxiety is that they may
have that organisational edge which helps them in these elections.”

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  • Most Conservative MPs we spoke to believe that the recent allegations about Boris Johnson aren’t cutting through to voters.
  • We rang round on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • “Northern seat”, “Midlands seat” and “Southern seat” are a compromise between giving the reader some flavour and protecting the source: MPs are likely to speak more candidly off the record than on it.
  • One question: is the Party failing collectively over expectations management?