Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Smaller Parties Feel the Squeeze; ?Poll Support for Labour and Tories Rises in the capitalRace Is So Tight That Even Small Movements of Votes May Have Dramatic Impact

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Smaller Parties Feel the Squeeze; ?Poll Support for Labour and Tories Rises in the capitalRace Is So Tight That Even Small Movements of Votes May Have Dramatic Impact

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor exclusive

THE election battle in London tightened dramatically today as an exclusive poll revealed Ukip and the Greens are being squeezed hard between the big parties.

With 37 days left to polling day, Labour's lead over the Tories has slipped one point, to 11 points, according to the YouGov/Evening Standard survey. More significantly, Labour and the Conservatives have both increased support at the expense of the smaller parties, Labour is up one point over the past month, to a 45 per cent vote share in the capital.

David Cameron's party is up two points, to 34 per cent. Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats have also crept up a point, to eight. The biggest loser is Natalie Bennett's Green Party, down from eight per cent in January to just four per cent now.

It is a severe dent to her hopes of an election breakthrough, and will increase sniping about her public performances, including the infamous "brain fade" interview, when she forgot the detail of her housing policy.

Nigel Farage's Ukip has fallen from 10 to eight per cent, and are level-pegging with the Lib-Dems in London. If the Ukip decline continues it could throw a lifeline to beleaguered Tories in ultra-marginals Continued on Page 2 Continued from Page 1 like Croydon central. The headline figures suggest Mr Miliband is on course to pick up seven or eight of his dozen target seats in London -- gains he desperately needs to make up for Labour losses in Scotland. However, Labour's lead is not big enough for Mr Miliband to win a majority at Westminster.

Mr Cameron was boosted by new official figures showing the economy has grown faster than thought. Annual growth last year was 2.8 per cent, up 0.2 per cent from a previous estimate. In the fourth quarter, growth was revised up from 0.5 to 0.6 per cent.

The Standard's seat-by-seat analysis of crucial London battlegrounds suggests the squeeze on the small parties could have a major effect on the political map. …

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