The Conservative Party is so short on council election candidates that it has resorted to desperate measures. On 5 April, one day before the deadline for candidate submissions, the Welsh Conservatives sent an email request to members. In the email, the party asked members to consider running in the Manchester and Knowsley council elections.
A desperate plea
According to the website, ConservativeHome, Welsh Conservatives requested that anyone with a connection to the regions consider putting their names forward. It asked:
Do you know anybody who lives, works or owns property in Manchester or Knowsley that will be willing to put their name on the ballot paper?
The email went on to say:
We are not expecting anyone to collect nomination forms, all is required is that they sign a candidates consent form.
The Conservatives had set out to “field a full slate of candidates across the Region“. But the Knowsley Borough Statement of Persons Nominated shows [pdf] that they failed. Of the 15 posts in contention, only nine have Conservative Party candidates running.
Bad news for the Conservatives
While both Manchester and Merseyside are typically Labour strongholds, the lack of viable Conservative candidates could be further indication that the party is set to have a rough night on 3 May. Polls suggest that in London the Conservative Party could secure only 28% of the vote with Labour on track to receive 54%. And even previously safe strongholds like Barnet, Wandsworth, and Westminster could swing to Labour.
A rejection of austerity
Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that he considers the council elections to be a chance to challenge austerity. Many voters appear to agree. A recent poll showed that voters in London are abandoning the Conservative Party as a result of crippling funding cuts. It seems that not even the party’s true believers are willing to run on the Conservatives’ current platform.
Featured image via Flickr/EU2017EE Estonian Presidency