Conservatives pour 'considerable resources' into Chipping Barnet to defend Theresa Villier's marginal

The environment secretary won in 2017 with just 353 votes



The Conservative Party is pouring “considerable resources” into the campaign to help secure the Chipping Barnet seat for Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers — dispelling fears that they would give up the fight in London in order to secure key seats in the North.

The JC understands that the local Tory party has been buoyed by the way support for Ms Villiers, who won the seat by just 353 votes in 2017, has been holding up on the doorsteps during campaigning.

The Conservative Friends of Israel group were set to join Ms Villiers for another campaign day in the constituency this Sunday in an attempt to further bolster support for the candidate, who has been outspoken in her support of Israel and over issues such as kashrut.

Dismissing suggestions that the overall Tory election campaign was overlooking London in order to win over votes from former Labour voters in the north of England frustrated with their party’s policy on Brexit, a senior Tory source said: “There is a huge amount of support in terms of people on the ground campaigning for Theresa Villiers.

“There was also a considerable amount in terms of financial resources put in even before the election kicked in.”

A massively improved performance by the Liberal Democrats in the seat is also said to be having a possibly significant impact on the result of the Chipping Barnet vote on December 12. Both Tory and Lib Dem sources confirm that the party’s candidate, Isabelle Parasram, has been met with an enthusiastic response on doorsteps across the seat — particularly among voters who would once have supported Labour.

“We can’t dispute the fact that the Lib Dems are mounting a good campaign in Chipping Barnet,” said one local Tory source. “I’ve been out twice a day in the last week. The Libs Dems are doing well but it seems to be people who can no longer cast their votes for Labour, mainly down to antisemitism, but also over their shambolic Brexit policy, who seem to be switching across to them.”

Labour have high hopes of capturing Chipping Barnet in what would be a coup for the party. Their candidate Emma Whysall has also received support from Labour’s campaign organisers who would relish the prospect of defeating the high-profile Tory.

But tellingly, Ms Whysall has not been able to count on the support of the Jewish Labour Movement in this election — with activists from the group not officially supporting her campaign.  In 2017 she benefited from the help of the numerous JLM supporters on the doorstep in Jewish areas in the constituency.

This week Ms Whysall faced claims she had blocked local residents on Twitter who had questioned her over her failure to speak out loudly over antisemitism in the party in recent weeks — despite her endorsement from JLM at the last election.

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