Labour ahead of Tories in polls for first time since Johnson became PM

Most voters believe Sir Keir Starmer is ready to be prime minister, survey finds

Peter Stubley
Sunday 27 September 2020 02:40 BST
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech at the party's online conference
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his speech at the party's online conference (REUTERS)

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Louise Thomas

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Labour has moved ahead of the Conservatives in an opinion poll for the first time since Boris Johnson became prime minister.

The latest survey by Opinium found 42 per cent intended to vote for Sir Keir Starmer’s party compared to 39 per cent for the Tories.

It continues the slump in fortunes for the Conservatives, who had a 26-point lead over their rivals when the coronavirus crisis began in March. The two parties were neck-and-neck in last month’s poll.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have shown no sign of gaining support since choosing Sir Ed Davey as their new leader. They are on 5 per cent, down by one point.

The poll also suggests that Sir Keir has improved opinion of the Labour Party, with 40 per cent of voters believing Labour is ready to form the next government and 55 per cent of believing Sir Keir is ready to be prime minister.

Sir Keir leads Boris Johnson as “best prime minister” by 36 per cent to 32 per cent.

Opinium said the government’s handling of the pandemic was contributing to the Tories’s slide in the polls, with 50 per cent disapproving of the overall response to the crisis and 57 per cent disapproving of the handling of testing.

And while most people support the measures introduced to tackle the virus, 60 per cent believe more restrictions will be needed to stop a second wave. The vast majority of people (86 per cent) say they are strictly or generally following the rules.

The last time Labour led the polls was in July 2019 when Jeremy Corbyn was leader and Theresa May’s time in office was coming to an end.

Mr Corbyn’s supporters reacted to the new poll by suggesting that “any other leader would be 20 points ahead” - a reference to a comment made by Tony Blair about the former Labour leader in 2017.

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