The Last Word: May 2021

  • Watch May's episode of the The Last Word

Tory wins in the north of England; setbacks in the South. What's happening? The Conservatives had their success stories in Southampton, true, but they didn't have it their own way in Oxfordshire, in Worthing and in Tunbridge Wells. And Tory councillors and MPs are saying the Government must not forget the southern counties in the quest to 'level up'.

Today's Conservative studio guest, Andrew Griffith MP from Arundel, says the picture's much more nuanced than North v South. And he tells us the housebuilding plans need not be a flashpoint for the Tories that some - including the Green Party - have suggested. Intelligent use of city centres, shorn of their commuter populations, and development of brownfield should provide an answer.

He's joined in the studio by Rosie Duffleld, Labour's Canterbury MP, who tells us her party's success in the South is because they're able to target their campaigning at the most local of levels. She says the south's huge areas of deprivation are too easily overlooked.

And for the Lib Dems, Baroness Brinton of Kenardington in Kent says her party are still a force to be reckoned with, and that advances in Tunbridge Wells and in Oxfordshire - where they now run the council - shows that they've not become an irrelevance. As for the challenge of the Green Party? Bring it on, she says. Plurality is to be welcomed in politics, and the Greens are operating from a very small base.