Blue wall

Is Boris Johnson losing the south?

The great Tory success in 2019 was winning a host of new seats while keeping hold of their traditional southern heartlands, including many seats that had voted Remain. But the local election results will increase concern among Tory MPs that these seats are becoming vulnerable. The Tories have in the last couple of hours lost control of Maidenhead, Huntingdonshire, and Wokingham. Talk to Tories in these types of places and they cite a variety of reasons for their difficulties. Some say that these voters don’t like levelling up – they suspect it is code for taxing them more so that more can be spent in the Tories’ new northern seats.

Tory backlash over Cumbrian coal mine U-turn

Is there a clash between the government’s plans to achieve Net Zero and its aspirations to level up parts of the North and Midlands? It certainly seems that way, after the Planning Secretary Robert Jenrick last night U-turned and launched an inquiry into the construction of a new coal mine in Cumbria, which would provide coal for the construction of steel. His decision to ‘call in’ the planning application came after the US climate envoy John Kerry told the BBC this week that ‘coal is not the future’. Jenrick’s decision has exposed a rift in the Tory party, between a government keen to make a success of the UN climate