Labour needs to win over ex-Ukip voters, Abbott says

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The Labour party needs to do more to win support from former Ukip voters, the shadow home secretary has admitted, as evidence grows that the collapse in the Ukip vote provided a big boost to the Conservatives in local elections yesterday.

Early evidence suggests that Theresa May’s Conservatives made sweeping gains across Britain in the last big test of public opinion before next month’s general election.

Speaking on Sky News, Diane Abbott said the defection of Ukip supporters to the Conservative party was “one of the pivotal factors” in yesterday’s votes.

Ms Abbott acknowledged that “some of those Ukip voters that are going to the Tories are former Labour voters”, and said that in a general election “we have to turn them out and get them to vote Labour”.

However, she resisted suggestions that working-class voters outside of London were turned off by Labour’s north London-based leadership, saying “when we get the results from Liverpool and Manchester and Birmingham we will see the idea that we are just a metropolitan London party is nonsense”.

Ms Abbott said overall the morning’s results had been “disappointing”, but stressed that “you cannot extrapolate from local elections to the general” election, and said the results “certainly don’t mean that the general election is done and dusted for Theresa May”.

Library photo: Reuters

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