Labour could be heading for a wipe-out by David Cameron's Tories at the next general election, says the first detailed study of the local election results and their possible impact.
The analysis, compiled by the Electoral Reform Society and released to The Observer yesterday, predicts that Labour stands to lose 149 of its present 355 MPs, bringing its Commons strength down to 206 - 'even worse than in 1983'.
The Tories could add between 100 and 120 MPs to their current 198. This would probably give them more than 300 MPs, comfortably the largest party and 'with new seats created in boundary changes, on the verge of an overall majority'.
Labour DOWN 149
Tories UP 100-120
This therefore predicts that Labour will lose 29-49 seats to some other party than the Tories. But they don't say who.
But here's a clue in the Electoral Reform Society's website:
London seats on new boundaries
2002 locals, 28 seats
2005 General Election, 19 seats
2006 locals, 38 seats
2002 locals, 37 seats
2005 General Election, 46 seats
2006 locals, 26 seats
2002 locals, 7 seats
2005 General Election, 7 seats
2006 locals, 9 seats
Sp perhaps the headline in the Guardian should read "Lib Dems on course for up to 111 seats - Ming will be the key player in the new Parliament."
Of course this is totally speculative, but in the light of some comments in the last few days, I thought it was a point worth making.