‘Mrs 5 pc’ races for commuter vote
Mrs. Thatcher saw the 5 per cent. swing to Tories at Coventry as “a very encouraging result,” she said yesterday.
She said at Carshalton, Surrey, where the Conservatives are defending a 3,698 majority over Labour in next week's by-election: “It was 5 per cent, in the right direction.
“We are hoping for 5 per cent. and a bit more in Carshalton. If that swing was repeated here on the same turnout, our majority would probably be about 7,000—in other words double.”
Mrs. Thatcher shown left in a canvassing race with Conservative candidate Mr. Nigel Foreman, who is defending the seat, told the voters of this slice of commuter country south of London: “We are confident but not complacent. Every single vote counts.”
In the modern Wallington shopping centre, Mrs. Thatcher was mobbed by about 300 people, mainly women. There was no doubt as to her popularity—there were even a few murmurs of “a most attractive witch,” the reference to the Russian attack on her.
Mrs. Thatcher's verdict on her first trip to Carshalton was: “It has been wonderful. I don't know whether I've won any new votes. It is always impossible to tell. I go to every by-election. I have made a rule that where my people are fighting there I am.” [end p1](2) The Times, 6 March 1976
The 5 per cent swing to the Conservatives at the Coventry, Northwest, by-election was an encouraging sign, although they did not capture the seat, Mrs. Thatcher said at Carshalton yesterday (Penny Symon writes).
“The Coventry result was very encouraging indeed because if that swing was repeated countrywide there would be a Conservative government” , she said.
“It would have taken a tremendous swing for us to have captured the seat and we did not really expect that to happen. Now we are hoping that in this constituency the swing to us will be even higher, but even if the Coventry figure was repeated here with the same turnout, our majority would almost double.”
The Conservative majority in October, 1974, was 3,698 over the Labour candidate, but Mrs Thatcher said she was a little concerned that a large number of candidates could split the centre.
She was canvassing with Mr Nigel Forman, the Conservative candidate, and they travelled in an open sports car through the quiet streets, where many windows displayed Conservative stickers.