JUST as London turned out to be an island of Remain in a sea of Brexit in last year’s referendum on EU membership, so the capital could buck the national trend again on June 8th. Labour certainly hopes so. For most of the past half-century, and especially since Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997, Labour has polled better in the capital than elsewhere in the country (see chart). In 2015, despite being almost wiped out in Scotland and losing seats in the rest of England, Labour gained seven MPs in London, increasing their tally to 45 out of 73.

This year, whereas the Tories have a commanding lead in the national polls, in London Labour is holding its own, at least according to a YouGov survey taken just before the election was called. As Tony Travers of the London School of Economics argues, among Labour MPs with marginal constituencies, those in London “probably have the best chance of hanging on to their seat in the country.”

That comes back to the referendum. In much of England, pro-Remain Labour MPs will find themselves out of kilter with their pro-Brexit constituents, and probably out of a job. In the capital, this works in reverse. Take Hammersmith, on the western fringes of inner London. Its Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, is defending a majority of 6,518. Given the big Tory lead in the national polls, this sort of majority should be vulnerable, but in Hammersmith Mr Slaughter could well hang on. His Remain credentials are impeccable, having defied the party leadership to vote against the triggering of Article 50, and he will exploit this record for all it is worth in a constituency that voted 70% for Remain.

The pro-EU Liberal Democrats also hope to make hay with London’s disgruntled Remainers. In 2015 the Lib Dems suffered a rout in the capital, losing all but one of the six MPs they had there. The heavyweights who lost last time—including former cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Ed Davy, as well as Simon Hughes, a former deputy leader—now have a chance of returning to Parliament.

Sarah Olney should also see off the challenge in Richmond from Zac Goldsmith, a former Conservative MP and ardent Brexiteer from whom she nabbed the seat in a by-election in December. Marcus Gibson, co-ordinating the campaign for the Lib Dems, says they will be flooding these target seats with volunteers, fighting them like by-elections, in which the party tends to do well.

All the same, it would be surprising if some of those Labour MPs who squeezed in last time did not go down on June 8th. Rupa Huq in Ealing Central and Acton, Ruth Cadbury in Brentford and Isleworth, and Wes Streeting in Ilford North all have majorities of under 1,000. They will suffer from the unpopularity of their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who polls badly in the capital despite being a London MP himself.

Many Labour MPs will thus run local campaigns, distancing themselves from their leader. Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor, will play a more prominent role in their leaflets. He is more popular than Mr Corbyn and, as Ms Cadbury points out, holds an office from which he can actually “deliver to voters” on issues like air quality, affordable housing and policing.

Ms Huq is getting a hand from the Green Party. It is not fielding a candidate in Ealing, to give her the best chance of fending off the Tories. Ms Cadbury is hoping to get the same deal from the Greens in Brentford. That could yield a vital 2,000 votes. But the Tories might gain even more from the collapse of the UK Independence Party. Its candidate in Brentford in 2015 now supports the Conservatives, as may many former UKIP voters. In that case, the Tory juggernaut might roar through London, too.