New poll puts Labour back in front

Labour has regained the lead in The Independent's "poll of polls" after a mini-bounce for David Cameron in the new year did not last.

Ed Miliband's party is on 39 per cent (up one point on the previous month), the Conservatives 37 per cent (down two points) and the Liberal Democrats 12 per cent (down one point). If repeated at the next general election on the proposed new constituency boundaries, Labour would be the largest party but would be eight seats short of an overall majority.

Labour remains less popular than it was for most of last year. The Tories took the lead after Mr Cameron vetoed an EU-wide treaty aimed at rescuing the euro in December but that now appears to have worn off.

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who compiled the figures, said: "The Tories' Europe boost has been gradually melting away." However he added that Labour "continues to struggle to persuade the public that it represents a viable alternative government. "At some point Mr Miliband is going to have to start giving the public a clearer idea of how Labour would deliver."

Mr Cameron's personal ratings have slipped back a little but are still higher than they were for much of the second half of last year. Mr Miliband's ratings improved slightly in February but are only a little better than his all-time low the previous month. Nick Clegg's personal ratings dipped slightly – enough to make him the least popular of the three main party leaders, the unwanted label he lost temporarily to Mr Miliband in January.

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