Peter Hoskin

The Tories expand their ambitions

The Tories expand their ambitions
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Opposite their interview with William Hague, the Times offers a useful insight into the Tories' electoral strategy:

"The increasing likelihood of victory for the Conservatives at the next election has prompted the party to consider diverting resources away from seats it believes are already in the bag to those previously regarded as unrealistic prospects.

They include seats such as Dagenham, which is currently 164 on the hit list. The Conservatives would need a swing of just over 8 per cent to capture the seat, which was held by Labour’s Jon Cruddas at the last election with a majority of 7,605. Other seats that could benefit from the new funding priorities include Luton South, number 140 on the list, and some seats in Kent. Sitting Labour MPs are already understandably rather nervous about their electoral prospects in these seats.

All of this implies that the Tories are hoping for a swing of between 6 and 8 per cent at the next election."

It really does say a lot about how far the Tories have come under Cameron - and about the scale of New Labour's decline - that they a consider a seat held by Jon Cruddas as eminently winnable.