Political big guns visit Redbridge as local election balances on ‘knife-edge’

Ed Miliband launched the Labour Party's local and European election campaign at a Barkingside leisur

Ed Miliband launched the Labour Party's local and European election campaign at a Barkingside leisure centre. Days later Boris Johnson talked up the local Tory party's chances in the forthcoming poll at Gants Hill roundabout - Credit: Archant

Redbridge has become a battleground borough, with political heavyweights from both main parties visiting in the hope of securing victory in council elections which are balanced “on a knife-edge”.

Labour said leader Ed Miliband’s visit to Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre in Barkingside last week was “no coincidence” and that people in the borough “deserve proper representation” absent from the Tory-run local authority.

But unperturbed Conservative council leader Keith Prince said he was delighted about the visit by the Labour Party’s “worst asset”.

Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson was also out on the campaign trail, taking a trip to a windswept Gants Hill roundabout on Tuesday to talk up his party’s chances in the May 22 election.

Responding to Mr Miliband’s pledge, made on his visit, to introduce rental controls, the Mayor said the move risked forcing people out of the rental sector.

As one of only three London local authorities where no one party has control, Redbridge represents an opportunity for both major parties to make gains in two weeks’ time.

Anthony Wells, associate director of the political team at pollsters YouGov, said: “It’s one that can move, because there are split seats that could easily go to Labour or the Conservatives.

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“The council is on a knife-edge. It’s one of Labour’s best chances of winning in London.”

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