Labour has lost lead over Tories, says survey

Labour has lost its lead over the Tories for the first time in seven months as Ed Miliband struggles to make an impact with the public, according to ComRes's poll for The Independent. It shows the parties running neck and neck following a turbulent political month in which Labour was trounced in elections to the Scottish Parliament and recorded a mixed performance in contests for English councils.

The poll finds that Labour support has dropped two points since the last ComRes survey to 37 per cent, putting the party level with the Tories, whose support has fallen by one point.

Liberal Democrats will be relieved that their recent dramatic collapse in popularity appears to have ended, with their party's backing recovering by one point to 12 per cent. Support for other parties, including the SNP, Ukip and the Greens, is up by two points to 14 per cent. Labour's lead rose to a high of nine points after the Chancellor, George Osborne, set out plans for spending cuts in the autumn, but has dropped away since then.

Its continuing failure to break through will dismay party strategists and could raise questions about Mr Miliband's leadership.

Some Shadow Cabinet members fear he is too risk-averse and complain the party is spending too much time looking inwards with a succession of policy reviews. They believe it is crucial for Mr Miliband to raise his, and Labour's, profile over the summer.

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