Hague dismisses new poll slump

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Tory leader William Hague today shrugged off new polls suggesting Labour are again pulling ahead in the polls and insisted the coming general election was still up for grabs.

Tory leader William Hague today shrugged off new polls suggesting Labour are again pulling ahead in the polls and insisted the coming general election was still up for grabs.

Mr Hague, appearing on BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme, said two years ago his party was 30 per cent behind in some polls while now they were winning by-elections and large numbers of people were deserting Labour.

"The election is wide open, polls will go up and down - I rely on talking to real people across the country," he told the programme.

Mr Hague also defended his new pensions proposals to put extra money onto the state pensions by cutting special allowances to older people such as the free TV licence for the over-75s.

He said giving more money to the basic state pensions would give elderly people more dignity and allow them greater choice in deciding how to spend their money.

His comments came on the day a leading Tory Eurosceptic risked starting a new row over the single currency by calling for party leader William Hague to rule out ever joining.

MP Bill Cash claimed research showed two thirds of Tory MPs backed the never approach rather than the official party policy of ruling out the single currency for the lifetime of the next parliament.

He told GMTV's Sunday programme people had not been "entirely satisfied" with answers from the leadership on the euro adding: "To say that we're just going to do it for the course of the next Parliament, to say no for the time being, doesn't really sound very convincing.

"On the other hand if you say that this is a matter about democracy, about who governs Britain and the fundamental questions which the Danes have answered which the British people have shown by opinion poll, then we can say, right, we're not going to have the single currency, we need a new order in Europe."

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