Election poll latest: Theresa May's lead slashed to record low of three points as Labour close in on Tories

Theresa May's campaign has come unstuck in recent weeks

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 31 May 2017 23:29 BST
Election 2017: The highlights from the BBC leaders' debate

Labour is closing the gap with Tories and now stands just three points from Theresa May’s party, a new YouGov poll shows.

The poll, commissioned by The Times, found the Conservative lead has slipped dramatically in recent weeks and is now within the margin of error.

The figures show the Conservatives on 42 points but Labour are close behind on 39.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats are struggling to maintain the momentum of their "fightback" as they slip to just 7 per cent vote share.

The poll points to a remarkable change in fortunes for the Tories, which had a 24-point lead over Labour when the snap general election was called in April.

Ms May has struggled in recent weeks after she was forced into an embarrassing U-turn over plans to reform social care in the party's manifesto.

The party said elderly people who needed care will be able to put off paying for it until after their deaths so they could potentially stay in their own home for as long as possible.

But critics said this would unfairly penalise people who suffer a slow decline from illnesses like dementia, over people who die suddenly and can then leave their estate to their children.

Ms May has faced criticism for refusing to to engage with voters, especially after she declined to take part in televised debates.

During the debate, Green party leader Caroline Lucas said: “You don’t call a general election and say it is the most important election in her lifetime and then not even be bothered to debate the issues at hand."

She added: “I think the first rule of leadership is to show up."

The YouGov poll also shows Ms May's personal appeal over Jeremy Corbyn is slipping.

​It found 30 per cent of respondents think Mr Corbyn would be a better Prime Minister – the highest it has ever been – while Ms May's personal favourability has slipped to 43 per cent from 45 per cent.

It comes as Ms May is planning a speech to refocus the campaign on Brexit on Thursday where she will say it is a "great national mission" which she is best placed to lead.

She will vow to use the "promise of Brexit" to transform the country for the better.

Ms May has used Brexit as a device to attack Mr Corbyn, saying he would find himself "alone and naked" in the negotiations with the rest of the EU.

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