Euro & local elections: Labour faces extinction

By Ian Dunt

Labour is facing a wipe-out during this week’s European and local elections, with polls indicating it is being disproportionately affected by the expenses scandal.

There are already calls for Gordon Brown to quit after the elections, with health secretary Alan Johnson the clear favourite to take over.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning, the prime minister said: “With the record I have had, I’m the best person to clean up the political system,” he said.

European and local election poll

“I think the cleaning up of the political system is best done by someone who has got a clear idea of what needs to be done – and I have.”

Meanwhile, chancellor Alistair Darling found himself at the centre of the storm today, after reports in the Telegraph indicated he claimed parliamentary expenses on two homes at the same time.

Expenses scandal: New revelations

Mr Brown said there was no substance to the allegations, but there are reports he is lining up Ed Balls, his longtime ally, for the post of chancellor in a post election reshuffle.

An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph of voting intentions in a general election put Labour on 22 points, 18 behind the Conservatives, who are on 40 points, and three behind the Liberal Democrats on 25.

Michael Howard comes out fighting

It is Labour’s worst ICM poll showing since 1987.

It is also the first time since 1985that an ICM poll has put Labour in third place.

Darling to repay allowances

The Conservatives appear to be escaping the worst effects of the expenses scandal, despite the vast majority of resigning MPs being from the opposition party.

Meanwhile, the Greens and Lib Dems are hacking away at Labour support on the left, while Ukip and the BNP chip away from the right.

Labour expenses apology ‘ready-made’

Bookmakers William Hills have made Ukip favourites to finish ahead of Labour at the European elections, and cut the odds on Gordon brown standing down as Labour leader before the general election.

The odds of him being ousted before next spring were cut from 7/4 to 6/4.

Cameron to appear before Tory expenses panel

Alan Johnson has been backed from 4/1 to 6/4 favourite to succeed him.

Candidates in this week’s election are desperately trying to encourage voters to turn out despite the expenses scandal.

Labour may delay Post Office showdown

Analysts are predicting a record-breaking low turnout. Both local and European elections generally result in around a third of the nation voting but there are concerns the number might slip below 25 per cent this time around.

William Hills are offering even money that less than 30 per cent of voters turn out for the European elections.

Greens hope ‘Fat Cat’ will boost support

Anti-fascist activists are warning that too many people staying at home could allow the British National party (BNP) to slip through the back door.

Last Friday, a coalition of Muslim leaders issued a joint statement calling on the Muslim community to mobilise against the BNP threat and get out and vote.

“Muslims too are understandably de-motivated by [the expenses scandal] and there will be a stronger temptation to stay away from the forthcoming elections,” it read.

“We urge all to resist this tendency. For the first time, openly anti-Muslim parties have a very real chance of gaining national prominence by winning a seat in the European parliament.”

Election volunteers for the main parties have found themselves in a strange and confusing position over the last few weeks.

The expenses scandal has had the same effect on them as it had on everyone else, leading many to say they were unprepared to campaign for their party and face voters’ anger over something they were not involved with.

But the threat of a BNP surge has prompted many to hit the doorsteps anyway.

With so many unusually factors at play, experts are struggling to provide solid predictions for the results.

From the 27 member states of the European Union (EU), 736 MEPs will be elected by an electorate of more than 500 million over a period of three days between June 4th-7th.

The local government elections will be held in 35 councils across England, including eight unitary authorities and all 27 county councils.