- Jeremy Corbyn would become prime minister if Labour managed to gain a few hundred voters in small towns across the country.
- Research from new think tank the Centre For Towns shows that there are 45 small towns within Labour’s reach at the next general election.
LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn needs a swing of just a few hundred voters to Labour in 45 small towns across the UK to become prime minister, research from a new think tank has suggested.
The Centre For Towns study says that Labour could win 45 marginal seats if the party focused on extending its appeal beyond metropolitan cities where it performed strongly in the June election to urban areas elsewhere in the country.
This means Corbyn could enter Downing Street and Labour could become the next government if the party adequately addressed the concerns of voters in urban areas away from big cities like London and Manchester, HuffPost reported.
45 marginal constituencies across Britain are focused on small towns that have suffered economic and political neglect as big cities have grown. Most are post-industrial places which have suffered from the death of local industries.
In these “town seats,” where the majority of the electorate live in an urban area, the average majority is 734 votes, after the Centre For Towns looked at the 2015 and 2017 general election results.
This means swings of just a few hundred votes in these constituencies would result in a Labour MP, and these 45 seats are part of 76 marginal seats that will decide the result of the next election.
Prominent Labour backbencher Lisa Nandy told Business Insider in September that her party is suffering from a long-standing disconnect with voters in towns.
“There is a lot of scepticism in a lot of towns around the country about whether Labour still speaks for them. Whether any political party really speaks for people in towns like mine,” the MP for Wigan said.
The Centre For Towns, a new think tank, aims to shed light on neglected urban areas across Britain and will release a data-driven website that will show the largest single town-based data set in the UK.
It will bring together academics from different universities, including Professor Rob Ford and Dr Maria Sobolewska from the University of Manchester and Dr Will Jennings from the University of Southampton.
Election data analyst Ian Warren is also behind the think tank and told HuffPost: “Early research from Centre for Towns has shown the potential impact that understanding — or neglecting — the unique dynamics of towns can have on our elections.
“A relatively small number of voters, spread across a handful of constituencies, now have the ability to dramatically alter the face of British politics.”
Labour needs to win town seats such as Thurrock, Hastings and Telford at the next general election to ensure that it becomes the largest party, and improve on its 2017 result.
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