A defeated Conservative councillor in Wandsworth – one of the London boroughs dramatically won by Labour on Thursday (May 5) – has blamed the Tories’ poor results on an influx of young left-wing voters in the borough. The councillor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told MyLondon that boundary changes and a young population were to blame for the Conservatives’ loss of control in the South London council. The Tories have not lost the council in more than 40 years.
The ex-councillor said: “It was very difficult in brand new boundaries. The issue of the central Conservative government came up but not that often, contrary to what Labour say. There must have been some element of politics.
“But if you live in a nice big house, your kids went to private school, then uni, and they come back home – well, it’s rare for those children to vote Conservative. 10 to 20 years ago that was probably different. You saw that writ large of the Corbynista approach to politics. The borough is getting younger,” they said.
“The young people who live with their parents aren’t following them [in their voting patterns]…I don’t think it is a big swing. It looks like a lot of seats have changed hands but it’s first past the post: it always magnifies the changes,” said the defeated Tory. They also blamed the defeat on a lack of political education in the UK, saying that on the doorsteps: “We heard quite a lot that they didn’t know the Tories ran the council for so many years. Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan allows people to believe Labour run it.”
READ MORE: London local election results in full – live updates as councils declare
(Image: PA Wire/PA Images)
“I’ve long held the view that we teach quite a lot before people reach their teens, but we don’t remind them through their 20s and 30s about how the system works. That speaks to the issue of people voting on national issues. Why would you vote on national issues for your local council?” they asked.
The South London Conservative claimed there was “very little negative feedback” from voters, adding: “This is a London thing and not a Labour thing. You can’t push water up a hill. It’s the demographics.” The borough is in the top 20 of the youngest council areas in the country, with an average age of just 35.
It comes after defeated Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said the Neil Parish scandal – where a Tory MP admitted to watching adult material twice in the House of Commons – played a part in the Tory defeat. He also suggested partygate was a factor in the Conservatives losing the council to Labour. The Conservatives also lost their London strongholds of Westminster and Barnet.
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