Tuesday 29 October 2019 10:03 pm

Could London hold the election key?

Parliament has been bracing itself for an election for weeks – but that doesn’t mean MPs are ready, or happy, about the prospect. 

Labour MPs have been most vocal about it, with divisions between the Leader of the Opposition’s office (LOTO) and the rest of the party laid bare as MPs reacted with dismay and disbelief as Jeremy Corbyn backed his rival Boris Johnson in going to the polls. 

Read more: Johnson wins approval for Christmas election

But Conservative MPs are just as nervous – not least those in London and the South East, with the campaign under Dominic Cummings expected to focus on pro-Leave Labour seats in the Midlands and the North. “Rich Remainers”, as Cummings once derided London, is unlikely to get much of a look-in. 

And yet the capital has some of the most tantalising marginal seats, including Kensington, where Labour’s Emma Dent Coad has a majority of just 20 – or 0.05 per cent. That is being targeted by Tory-turned-Lib Dem MP Sam Gyimah. 

The Lib Dems could cause quite a headache for London-based Tories. Ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger is taking on Conservative Mike Freer in Finchley and Golders Green, where he has a slim 1,657 majority. And Chuka Umunna hopes to win Cities of Westminster and London, with Tory incumbent Mark Field standing down. 

With a majority of 45, Zac Goldsmith’s Richmond Park will also be an important battle ground, while Amber Rudd’s seat in Hastings & Rye could be up for grabs after the former minister resigned. She won in 2017 with a majority of just 346 (0.32%). 

The Prime Minister’s own seat of Uxbridge will almost certainly be targeted by opposition parties looking to embarrass Boris Johnson, not least after Labour managed to narrow his margin to only 5,034 in 2017. 

With so many variables, it’s hard to say how the election will pan out – but it’s clear that the Prime Minister’s victory last night by no means guarantees his success on the campaign trail.