Labour big-hitters Alan Johnson and Tristram Hunt among those most at risk from Ukip surge
Senior Labour figures Alan Johnson and Tristram Hunt are among the big names at risk if Ukip enjoys a surge in support in the north of England under new leader Paul Nuttall, according to research.
The study, carried out by political expert Matthew Goodwin for The Sun, suggests that the likes of Gloria de Piero, Jon Cruddas and former chief whip Rosie Winterton could also lose their seats.
Mr Nuttall was elected Ukip leader in a landslide victory yesterday, and immediately vowed to “replace the Labour party and make Ukip the voice of patriotic Britain” by targeting working class voters.
He said: "They have a leader who will not sing the national anthem, a Shadow Chancellor who seems to admire the IRA more than he does the British Army, a Shadow Foreign Secretary who sneers at the English flag and a Shadow Home Secretary who seems to advocate unlimited immigration.
“I want Ukip to become the party that focuses on the issues that matters to the people most affected by uncontrolled immigration, the people who are most affected by crime.
"These are the people who tend to be very patriotic, they believe in our Armed Forces. And of course we want to see British people put to the front of the queue."
Mr Goodwin analysed Labour constituencies with the lowest majorities where over 50% voted Leave in the EU referendum, and where Ukip are already in second place, or a close third, to come up with his list of 20 target seats.
Others who are vulnerable, according to his research, include Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and fellow frontbenchers Karl Turner and Sarah Champion.
Kent University academic Professor Goodwin said: "“These are the seats where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is most likely to come under pressure.
“They offer the ideal mix of local conditions for Ukip.
“These are the ones that I would be watching and where Corbyn could find himself under new pressure."
Labour MPs privately admit Liverpool-born Mr Nuttall represents "a clear and present danger" to their party in its northern heartlands.
One told PoliticsHome: "It's always been the big fear, that Ukip would end up being led by someone like Nuttall, a northerner from a working class background.
"He isn't exactly JFK, but he does represent a clear and present danger to Labour in the north of England, particularly at a time when we are haemorrhaging so many white, working class votes.
"They are deserting us because of Corbyn's stance on defence, security, policing and immigration."