Conservatives fear weeks of poor headlines for Boris Johnson and the tightening of the polls nationally is setting them up for a close-run race. With the public growing increasingly frustrated, there are concerns usual loyal voters will stay at home, risking an unexpected result.
One MP feeling slightly jittery told Express.co.uk: “I think it’s all going to be down to turnout at the by-election to be honest.
“It’s important there’s no apathy from the Conservative voters.”
Another admitted “Boris is suffering from mid-term blues” and warned the outcome of the contest would be tight.
They said: “I’ve not been campaigning in the constituency myself, but everything I hear from colleagues is about the lack of enthusiasm.
READ MORE: Tory rebellion grows: Boris hit by ANOTHER revolt by own MPs
“I think we’ll probably win it still, but it will be far, far closer than we would like.”
The veteran Conservative politician said they may be relying on the sympathy vote to help get them over the line.
The seat became vacant in October after its former representative, ex-cabinet minister James Brokenshire, died of cancer.
Well respected across the House, Mr Brokenshire was re-elected in 2019 with a majority of 18,952.
“James was a popular MP in his constituency, so some will probably still vote Conservative out of sympathy for the circumstances that led to the seat becoming vacant,” the MP added.
Recent by-elections have sprung up some unusual results.
READ MORE: ‘Focus on saving lives!’ Boris furious as Macron brands PM ‘a clown’
Labour has overtaken the Conservatives in several polls on voting intentions in recent weeks.
The Government has been hit by a row over allegations of corruption, claims of broken promises and a series of embarrassing gaffes.
The deluge of problems hitting No10 has badly dented the Prime Minister’s popularity.
Earlier this week a Conservative MP tried to manage expectations about the outcome of the vote.
They said: “The importance of by-elections are always overstated.
“Of course we want to win it, but it shouldn’t be seen as a disaster if we don’t.
“I’d argue by-elections don’t even capture a snapshot of public mood, they are often won and lost on very specific local issues.
“Boris is still the best campaigner this party has in a general election, even if the by-election doesn’t lead to the result we want, people would do well to remember that.”
While the Conservatives are still favourite to win the by-election, there will be close eyes on the turnout and the size of the majority.
Polls are open from 7am until 10pm, with the result set to be announced Friday morning.