PMQs: Rishi Sunak focuses on local elections ahead of coronation
Voters in many parts of England have delivered their first verdict on Rishi Sunak’s Government in today’s local elections but a new poll has revealed that the Tories national recovery has come to a halt and gone into reverse. The Techne UK tracker poll a fortnight ago had the Tories just 13 points behind but their support has dropped by one percent for two weeks in a row with Labour now 15 percent ahead.
The findings of the survey of 1,632 voters put Labour on 44 percent for a third week in a row but the Conservatives were down on to 29 percent.
Meanwhile, the Lib Dems were up two to 11 percent while Reform UK remained the same on 6 percent and the Greens are stuck on 5 percent.
If the results played out in a general election Labour would have a majority of 172 while the Tories would have just 162 seats.
The findings will be particularly concerning for Mr Sunak who had steadily being making a comeback after beig 30 points behind when he became leader last autumn.
With voters going out in the local elections today, Downing Street and Tory chiefs are bracing themselves for heavy losses.
Conservative chairman Greg Hands has warned they could lose as many as 1,000 council seats.
The elections in most of England are the first time voters have had a chance to deliver a verdict on the Government since the resignations of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss as Prime Minister.
Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo said: “The news this week is that the Government continues to do well in terms of confidence, better than the Conservative Party.
“The party does not in fact have the same growth rate and this week it takes a small step backwards: 1 percentage point with respect to last week.
“The party too must now get back on track and be more self-confident so as to avoid getting trapped in the so-called “self-fulfilling prophecy: if I think I’m losing, I’ll loose”.
“Moreover, it is also very much important for the party to pass the message that they are ready to compete on the territories in view of the next General Elections!”
The results could have an impact on Mr Sunak’s leadership of the party with many Tory MPs believing that he has turned things around and could lead them to an improbable victory next year.
However, with internal party critics gathering in less than two weeks at the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO) conference in Bournemouth, Mr Sunak is not entirely in the clear.
Much could depend on the Privileges Committee verdict on whether Boris Johnson deliberately lied to Parliament which is expected in three weeks.
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