Conservatives facing worst result in party history with 130 seats

Conservatives are facing worst general election result in party’s history and could win just 130 seats, polling expert says

  • Analysis of voting intention polls suggests the Tories are heading for trouble

The Conservatives are charging towards their worst ever election defeat in history, that could see them win just 130 seats, according to a renowned polling expert. 

Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says prime minister Rishi Sunak has suffered a tumultuous autumn after multiple attempts to give his premiership a boost failed to improve his standing among voters.

The PM – who entered office on October 25 last year after Liz Truss’ disastrous 44 days in Number 10 – has so far failed to improve his voting prospects despite attempting to appease the Tory right on a number of fronts.

Gestures such as the delay to the ban to new petrol cars, the scrapping of the expensive HS2 project’s northern leg, a cut to National Insurance and last month’s dramatic reshuffle have all failed to woo supporters.

Sir John has suggested that the public has ‘stopped listening’ to what the Tories have to say – and believes they could be heading for electoral meltdown. Polling data from YouGov and Ipsos currently puts Labour around 20 points ahead of the Tories.

The Conservatives are heading for their worst election result in history under Rishi Sunak, according to a polling expert

Professor Sir John Curtice of Strathclyde University has warned that Tories fighting amongst themselves are ‘potentially playing with fire’

‘If these patterns were to be replicated in a general election, the outcome for the Conservatives could be bleak indeed – maybe as few as 130 seats, the worst outcome in the party’s history,’ he told the Telegraph.

He added that the ongoing infighting within the Tories – worsened by the sacking of Suella Braverman, a favourite among the party’s right, and the departure of Robert Jenrick as immigration minister – would do little to improve its image among voters.

Sir John said: ‘In pursuing their disagreements with Mr Sunak over immigration, Tory MPs should realise they are potentially playing with fire.’

Mr Sunak has used recent weeks to attempt a revival of his party’s fortunes, from scrapping HS2’s northern leg from Birmingham to Manchester to delivering a two percent cut in National Insurance in the Autumn Statement.

He has also sought to appease the Tory right by delaying net zero policies, including the ban on new petrol cars, and by pushing back on ‘woke’ culture. 

Early next week, he will put his party’s loyalty to the test with a crunch vote on emergency Rwanda legislation that will seek to declare, in UK law, that the country is safe for asylum seekers – despite the courts ruling that it is not.

None of these efforts, however, have appeased voters – who have cited more pressing concerns, such as the cost of living crisis and the state of the NHS, as being more important, according to a Survation poll conducted last month.

Under current legislation, a general election must be held by the end of January 2025.

Winning just 130 seats would spell disaster for the Tories, which returned to government under Boris Johnson in 2019 with 365 seats. It now has 350 MPs in the Commons.

Polling such as that conducted by YouGov (above) has given Labour a consistent double digit lead over the Tories for more than a year

It would be fewer than the 165 Conservative MPs returned in 1997, the year of Tony Blair’s New Labour landslide.

Ongoing voting intention polling suggests the party’s electoral prospects are showing little sign of improving.

A YouGov poll commissioned on December 7 put the Tories on 22 per cent, behind Labour on 45 per cent. Polls by We Think carried out at around the same time put Labour on the same figure, but the Conservatives at a slightly higher 25 per cent.

Despite this, the gap between Labour and the Tories has remained in double digits for more than a year.

Source: Read Full Article