Nigel Farage was under huge pressure to rip up his election plans last night after an analysis showed he risks wrecking Tory hopes of snatching dozens of Leave-leaning seats from Labour.
An audit by the Daily Mail found Boris Johnson could miss out in almost 90 battleground constituencies if the pro-Brexit vote is split between the Tories and the Brexit Party.
If the Brexit Party choose not to stand and 70 per cent of their backers switch to the Tories (while 30 per cent go to Labour), then the Conservatives could take 38 target seats off Jeremy Corbyn’s party.
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An audit by the Daily Mail found Boris Johnson could miss out in almost 90 battleground constituencies if the pro-Brexit vote is split between the Tories and the Brexit Party
Boris Johnson looks at old photographs of London with students at a primary school in Bury St Edmunds today
Jeremy Corbyn poses for a selfie with Labour candidate Hannah O'Neil (left) and activists in Milton Keynes today
Boris Johnson has urged voters to back his 'oven-ready' Brexit deal at the ballot box on December 12 as he started the general election campaign with a massive 17 point poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn.
An Ipsos Mori survey conducted for the Evening Standard between October 25-28 has the Tories on 41 per cent - up eight points since September.
But Labour is far behind on 24 per cent and only narrowly ahead of Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats on 20 per cent.
An Ipsos Mori survey for the Evening Standard gives the Tories a 17 point lead over Labour with the Lib Dems in third place in 20 per cent
The poll has Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party on just seven per cent as Mr Johnson appears to be winning back Leave voters who may have ditched the Tories for the upstart movement.
Meanwhile, the Tories have a 15 point poll lead over Labour in a new YouGov survey conducted for The Times.
The Tories and the Labour Party were in similar positions in the polls at the start of the 2017 general election campaign but ultimately ended up with 42 per cent and 40 per cent of the total vote share on polling day.
A 2019 general election poll tracker suggests that the Tories are gaining ground while the Labour Party is struggling to make progress
Mr Johnson could win a further 50 Labour-held seats if all those forecast to vote for the Brexit Party instead switch their support to him. The analysis is based on projections produced by the firm Electoral Calculus, based on current polling.
Mr Farage, who will launch the Brexit Party’s campaign tomorrow morning in London, has suggested he will target Leave-backing seats in Labour’s northern heartlands rather than those held by Tory Eurosceptics.
But this could still deprive Mr Johnson of victory because they are the sort of constituencies that the Prime Minister needs to gain if he is to get a Commons majority.
The Electoral Calculus projections, using the latest national polling, show there are swathes of seats currently held by Labour, which the Tories are now in touching distance of snatching.
Dewsbury, where Labour’s Paula Sherriff won with a 3,321 majority in 2017, is now on a knife edge according to the estimates.
The modelling predicts Labour will pick up a 36.6 per cent share of votes in the seat, with the Tories only narrowly behind on 35.2 per cent. The Brexit Party would trail on 12.2 per cent.
Mr Johnson was steadied by Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick as he visited a self-defence class at the force's college in Hendon, north London, yesterday
Mr Johnson pictured on the campaign trail at a self defence class in Hendon yesterday
The PM today insisted that he can be trusted to deliver Brexit despite breaking his 'do or die' vow
If the Brexit Party was removed and its support re-allocated with the majority (70 per cent) going to the Tories and 30 per cent to Labour, then the seat would flip to Mr Johnson’s party.
According to the projections, similar scenarios exist in a total of 37 other seats, including Birmingham Erdington, Burnley, Bury North, Halifax, Hartlepool, Hyndburn, and Sedgefield.
Should all of the forecast Brexit party vote be transferred to the Tories, then Mr Johnson’s party could gain as many as another 50 seats.
The Brexit Party will kickstart its election campaign at an event tomorrow morning featuring Mr Farage and ‘surprise guest speakers’. It is expected to reveal how many candidates it will field and where they will stand.
Mr Farage and the party’s chairman Richard Tice are also likely to announce which constituencies they will run in. It will be Mr Farage’s eighth attempt at becoming an MP.
The party is understood to be engulfed in a behind-the-scenes row over how many seats to contest, with some MEPs threatening to quit if they create difficulties for the Tories and others saying they will go if they withdraw candidates in hundreds of constituencies.
Mr Farage had originally said that the party would field 600 to fight nearly every seat in the UK, except for Northern Ireland.
Yesterday he refused to rule out the prospect of the Brexit Party withdrawing hundreds of candidates in order to target a small number of Labour-held seats.
Mr Farage said: ‘I’ve ruled nothing in, I’ve ruled nothing out. I am making a completely neutral comment ahead of our launch.’
But elections expert and Tory peer Robert Hayward said there was ‘no certainty’ that the withdrawal of Brexit Party candidates would automatically help the Tories.
He conceded: ‘In large swathes of the Midlands, North and Wales, Brexit voters are ex-Labour voters and would (to misuse a well-known phrase or saying) rather die in a ditch than vote Tory.’
Boris Johnson, pictured in Bury St Edmunds today, has urged voters to give him a majority on December 12 so that he can implement his 'oven-ready' Brexit deal
The PM made pictures of fireworks with students at the primary school as he hit the campaign trail in earnest
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Mr Farage, who will launch the Brexit Party’s campaign tomorrow morning in London