Will weather scupper December election? Newspapers look ahead to winter vote
The first December election in Britain for 96 years has led to much discussion of whether or not the weather will impede polling – while climate change and rugby league also matter this time around.
The Daily Mail, which is calling it “the Brexmas election”, reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a tough fight to hold his own seat and may be tempted to switch to a safer seat to avoid the risk of being beaten.
Mr Johnson is MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London, where he has a majority of 5,034 over Labour, meaning a swing of just over 5% would lead to the PM losing his seat.
According to the Mail, Mr Johnson will switch to another seat, but “Downing Street described the rumours as ‘tosh and nonsense’”.
The paper also points out that 47 MPs are retiring, including Heidi Allen, an ex-Tory who joined the Liberal Democrats, and her former colleagues Ken Clarke and Sir Nicholas Soames.
The Daily Mirror has a story headlined “10 ways Labour can win”.
However, number three – Stay united – may be the most difficult one for the red side of politics to achieve.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn writes in a column in the paper: “This is a once-in-a-generation chance to build a country for the many not the few and one that’s fit for the next generation.”
The Daily Telegraph says that former Labour, now Lib Dem, MP Chuka Umunna claims his current party could win up to 200 seats if the party unites Remain voters.
The Daily Express, meanwhile, has a story saying rugby league towns hold the key to a Tory win.
Lord O’Shaughnessy, a former Downing Street policy director, told the paper: “For the Conservatives to win a majority at the upcoming election requires a leap of faith by people who have never voted Tory before.
“These voters typically live in Midlands towns and northern England and while they are conservative on issues like crime and immigration they are deeply sceptical of the party’s economic liberalism.”
In The Guardian, a story says a majority of people say “the climate crisis will influence how they vote in the looming general election… with younger voters feeling particularly strongly about the issue”.
The Sun addresses the weather, reporting that voters will “defy the freezing cold to vote in their droves”.
Polling guru Professor John Curtice said “Brexit is so important to voters that a spot of bad weather will not keep them away.”
He pointed out that when the country went to the polls in February 1950 a record 84% of voters turned out.
The paper’s editorial does not mince its words, saying: “The December 12 election will be the most momentous of our lives. It gives Britain a fundamental choice: Capitalism, and fulfilling the Brexit referendum, versus Marxist extremism, the reversal of Brexit and the probable break-up of the United Kingdom.”
The Times says some Tory MPs are worried about the poll. “Cabinet ministers have privately admitted they are nervous about the outcome of the election amid fears of a voter backlash,” the paper says.
“One minister said that while they accepted the need to go to the country to ‘take control’ there was considerable uncertainty about the result.”
The Times also points out that in 1923, the last time there was a December election, the Tories lost its majority and Ramsay MacDonald became Labour’s first prime minister.