Tory wins bring crumbs of comfort

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At the end of a horrendous month for Tories there was a crumb of comfort for them in the latest council by-elections.

They defended a marginal seat against Liberal Democrats at Parson Drove and Wisbech St Mary in Cambridgeshire’s Fenland District despite the absence of a Labour candidate and Ukip’s efforts.

Labour’s majority fell at Evelyn ward in south London’s Lewisham Borough after turnout dropped to just 16.2 per cent and a strong performance by People Before Profit candidate Barbara Raymond.

Analysis of 10 comparable results over March suggests a Labour lead over the Tories by a projected 14.3 per cent nationwide.

A calculation based on seven wards gives Labour 42.5 per cent, Conservatives 26.2 per cent, and Lib Dems 16.2 per cent. If repeated in county council and unitary authority polls in five weeks’ time it will spell a Tory disaster.

Analysis of four comparable results during March from areas which will be voting on May 2 gives Labour a smaller – but still substantial – projected margin of 11.5 per cent.