THE Conservatives will have to target traditional Labour voters from towns such as Warrington in order to win the Christmas general election, according to a think tank.

Right-of-centre Onward urged the party to target towns including Warrington, Halifax, Wigan and Workington in order to gain these key regional seats.

The group said 'Workington man' will be a key swing voter for the Tories as well as the latest entry in a tradition of voter demographic stereotypes.

Onward said the Tories will need to target the average 'middle England' voter who is an older, white, non-graduate man from the North of England, with strong rugby league traditions and a tendency to vote Labour.

James O'Shaughnessy, a Conservative peer and former Downing Street director of policy, said: "For the Conservatives to win a majority at the upcoming general election requires a leap of faith by people who have never voted Tory before.

"These voters are not nostalgic; they don't believe there was a golden age we need to return to. They're looking for change, but change that delivers greater security in their lives, not more exposure to the harsh winds of globalisation."

READ MORE > How did Warrington's MPs vote in call for election?

Warrington North has always been a strong Labour seat. Helen Jones won with a majority of more than 9,000 at the 2017 election.

Warrington South has always been much more closely fought – apart from the New Labour days of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Labour's Faisal Rashid took it from Conservative David Mowat in 2017 with a 2,549 majority.

But it is seats such as this that the Tories will be targeting come December 12.

All parties will be looking to gain voters from their oppositions while maintaining holds on their existing constituencies at the general election.

The use of voter stereotypes as a targeting tactic dates back to at least Margaret Thatcher's repeated electoral wins in the 1980s where the working-class "Essex man" switched allegiance from Labour to the Tories.

In 1996, "Mondeo man" was singled out for Labour after then-leader Tony Blair recalled canvassing with a voter who owned a Ford Sierra car which was later superseded by the Ford Mondeo.

"Worcester woman" was also targeted by Mr Blair's campaign during the 1997 election as a working-class mother who traditionally voted Conservative but would consider voting Labour if it improved her family's life.

Next came the "Pebbledash people" for the Conservatives in 2001 - middle-aged professional couples who live in semi-detached, often pebble-dashed homes in the suburbs.

In 2003, former cabinet minister Stephen Byers urged Labour to reach out to the "Bacardi Breezer generation" of alienated 18 to 25-year-olds.

Both "Holby City Woman" and "Motorway man" were used in the 2010 election.

The former is a female voter in her 30s or 40s who works in the public sector, cares about social issues and leans towards Labour, while "Motorway men" are floating voters.

The December 12 election will be the third in three years and the first to be held in December since 1923.