Could Rugby League hold the key in the General Election?

A new report released by the government hints getting the support of the ‘rugby league towns’ could hold the key in Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in getting an overall majority.

The country is set to once again head to the polling stations on December 12 amid years of Brexit frustration and deadlock.

But Onward, a right of centre research group, were quoted recently, using the example of ‘Workington Man’ as a swing voter which could edge the Tories towards a majority.

They say they need to target older, white men who don’t have a degree and live in the north of England.

More specifically, they mentioned towns like St Helens, Halifax, Warrington, Wigan and Workington as areas they need to target.

It is not the first time the Government has tried to use this sort of targeting, with both Labour and Conservative using specific targets to try swing voters to vote for them.

James O’Shaughnessy, a Conservative peer and former Downing Street director of policy, said: “For the Conservatives to win a majority at the upcoming general election requires a leap of faith by people who have never voted Tory before.

“These voters are not nostalgic; they don’t believe there was a golden age we need to return to. They’re looking for change, but change that delivers greater security in their lives, not more exposure to the harsh winds of globalisation.”

Since the Workington constituency was created in 1918, the Conservatives have never won the seat as a result of a general election.

Tory Richard Page held the seat for three years following the 1976 by-election and has been the only non-Labour MP to ever represent the constituency which backed Leave in 2016.

However, the idea of the blue rosette succeeding in Labour heartlands across the north of England drew a sharp response from Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

She wrote on social media: “I’d never take a single vote for granted but I’m not sure a London think tank is well placed to understand the traditions, history and solidarity in rugby league towns.

“The Tories devastated our communities in the 1980s and again in recent years and we do not forget.”

All parties will be looking to gain voters from their oppositions while maintaining holds on their existing constituencies at the general election.

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