That’s the question posted by the Western Morning News’s London editor, Matt Chorley:
CONSERVATIVE high command make no secret of the importance of the Westcountry to their hopes of winning the general election, but there seems to be growing unease in the region about the impact (negative or non-existent) their leader is having on voters…
Speaking to MPs and PPCs from Devon, Cornwall and Somerset there is a distinct lack of confidence, even in private.
They talk about “hanging on” to seats, “picking up one or two” others. Don’t forget the Tories need to win an extra 10 seats in the three counties, all but one from the Lib-Dems, to secure a majority of just one.
This mirrors a previous report in The Times that:
[Conservative] Party strategists privately admit that some incumbent MPs, particularly Lib Dems, are putting up fiercer-than-expected resistance.
Not helping the Conservatives in the South West have been events such as the complaints from a Cornwall choir that it had been duped into doing fund raising for the Conservative Party and the allegations that their Parliamentary candidate Caroline Righton faked a message about Lib Dem Stephen Gilbert in a botched smear attempt.
Hat-tip: Jonathan Calder