Tory social media campaign expresses fear over Labour 'supermajority'

Messaging from the Conservative Party suggests it is bracing for Labour to win a „supermajority” in the general election on 4 July.
Wednesday 12 June 2024 18:00, UK
A Tory social media campaign suggests the party fears a Labour landslide in the upcoming general election, as minister Grant Shapps says they are fighting to avoid a Labour „supermajority”.
The Conservatives’ latest advertising campaign appears to target potential Reform voters, warning them that the Tories could be reduced to just 57 seats in the next parliament, even if Reform picked up no seats.
It urges them not to risk handing Labour the keys to Number 10 with a majority that may surpass even the 1997 landslide under Tony Blair.
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The advert is an admission of Labour’s vast lead in the polls, currently 20 percentage points ahead of the Tories, according to the latest exclusive YouGov poll for Sky News.
Earlier on Sky News’ Breakfast with Kay Burley, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps sought to further downplay Reform’s rising popularity.
Asked about the fact Reform is now on 17%, just one point behind the Tories, Mr Shapps said: „As far as I’m aware, not a single person has cast a vote in this country yet, so let’s wait and see”.
He said the „only other option” for whoever gets into Downing Street „is Keir Starmer”.
Rishi Sunak today also warned against giving Labour a „blank cheque”, but has „absolutely not” given up hope of winning the election, he told reporters on the campaign bus.
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The leaders of both major parties are taking part in the Sky News Battle for Number 10 programme tonight.
Live from Grimsby, a key target town in the campaign, the two will face questions from political editor Beth Rigby and the studio audience.
Read more:
Conservatives and Reform ‘tantalisingly close to a crossover’ in the polls
The truth behind claims leaders will make in tonight’s debate
Mr Shapps also said that to ensure proper accountability, „you don’t want to have somebody receive a supermajority”.
He told Times Radio earlier: „In this case, of course, the concern would be that if Keir Starmer were to go into No 10… and that power was in some way unchecked, it would be very bad news for people in this country”.
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Mr Shapps added: „It’s perfectly legitimate to say the country doesn’t function well when you get majorities the size of Blair’s or even bigger, and we would say there are a lot of very good, hardworking MPs who can hold the government of the day to account, and we’d say those are Conservative MPs.”
The defence secretary is one of the high-profile Tories set to lose their seats in the election, along with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, according to Sky’s YouGov poll last week.
Online campaign correspondent
From that social media post advertising just 57 Conservative seats – and the talk of a Labour „supermajority” – it may look like the Tories are already admitting defeat and seeking merely to limit its scale.
Not many parties seeking to govern highlight their own potential demise as a reason to vote for them after all.
And that’s the message in their online adverts too.
The most recent adverts on Facebook and Instagram warn voting for a particular party – the text changes between Reform, the Lib Dems and Labour – would be „handing Keir Starmer a massive majority”.
And they’re almost all attack ads: of the newest ads, you have to scroll past more than 40 before you get to the first that speaks about Tory policy, rather than talking about Labour.
Compare that to recent Labour adverts – their message is a lot more positive and members of the shadow cabinet are put front and centre.
The other sign the Conservatives may be anticipating a heavy defeat is the amount of money they’re spending on digital ads.
It’s far less than Labour, according to data from Sky News election partner Who Targets Me. If this were a tight race you’d expect them to be piling in.
But if victory is out of grasp, perhaps they only want to spend enough to prevent wipeout.
Sir Keir insisted Labour was not complacent about victory but urged voters to give him the mandate to deliver change.
He said: „We know that we have to earn every vote.
„Not a single vote has been cast and I know that every day we have to make a positive case for change.”
This morning official figures suggested the economy flatlined in April – an outcome long expected as the very wet weather had dampened retail sales and construction output.
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Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: „The Conservatives have utterly failed to deliver the growth they repeatedly promised, instead presiding over stagnation and economic misery for hardworking families across the country.”
But the chancellor said the figures showed the economy „grew by 0.7% in the three months to April”.
„There is more to do, but the economy is turning a corner and inflation is back down to normal,” he said.
The Lib Dems have seen a four-point rise in their polling numbers to 15%, while the Green Party has crept up one point to 8%.
Launching their manifesto today, the Greens are setting out plans to tax „multimillionaires and billionaires” to fund improvements to health, housing, transport and the green economy.
Watch The Battle For Number 10 Leaders Special Event tonight from 7pm-10pm on Sky News – free wherever you get your news.
Freeview channel 233, Sky 501, Virgin 603, BT 313 and streaming on the Sky News website, app and across social channels. It is also available to watch on Sky Showcase.

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