Boris Johnson and other leading Tories could face losing their seats as voters move away from the old Left v Right politics, according to an analysis by general election advisers to David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
Three former Cabinet ministers — Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers and Justine Greening — would also be vulnerable if trends continue, argued the study by Andrew Cooper and Spencer Livermore, launching a new think tank.
The pair found evidence that since the Brexit referendum voters are making up their minds more on touchstone issues of “openness” such as their attitude to multiculturalism, immigration and nationalism, and are less influenced by traditional party loyalties.
Other London seats that could change hands in 2022 are Tory bastions Cities of London and Westminster, Wimbledon and Richmond Park.
Pollster Lord Cooper, Mr Cameron’s chief strategist and a leading Remainer, suggested new groupings would be based on voters’ Brexit leanings. His report for the Global Future think tank said that Londoners’ open, outward-looking view of the world meant they were less likely to back the Conservatives under Theresa May at the next election.
The new voting behaviour had already led to seats such as Kensington and Battersea going to Labour last year and he predicted the Foreign Secretary’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat was “in the firing line”.
However, a senior Tory elections expert expressed doubt that Mr Johnson, whose 10,695 majority was slashed to 5,034 at the last election, would be in serious danger.
“Some of the social attitudes that have been fuelled by the debate about Brexit are likely to die down after Brexit has happened,” he said. “Boris’s seat is at the extreme end of ‘marginal’. I would call it comfortable.”
The new report, Open Owns The Future, pointed to a Tory rout unless the party adopted more open language and policies. Voters under 45 in London had a more liberal outlook, tending to make them back Opposition parties.
Lord Cooper said: “These days, a far better way of predicting how someone will vote is to discover if they live in an ethnically and religiously diverse area, the density of the local population around them, how they define their national identity, or what their feelings are toward minority communities.
“It means that lots of people who once were good bets to be Conservative now turn out to be Labour.”
Lord Livermore, once Labour’s election co-ordinator, added: “It presents Labour with a huge opportunity.”
The report claimed former work and pensions secretary Mr Duncan Smith, who has a 2,438 majority over Labour in Chingford and Woodford Green, and former Northern Ireland Secretary Ms Villiers, with a 353 majority over Labour in Chipping Barnet, were among Tories most at risk.
Both were leading Leave campaigners, but Remainer and former education secretary Ms Greening, who has a 1,554 majority over Labour in Putney, could also lose her seat. The report said Cities of London & Westminster, Finchley & Golders Green, Wimbledon and Hendon were at risk to Labour, and Sutton & Cheam and Richmond Park to the Liberal Democrats.