Natalie Elphicke effect adds two points to Labour poll lead over Tories

Fewer than four in 10 2019 Tory voters would vote Conservative again, poll suggests

David Maddox
Political editor
Friday 10 May 2024 07:00 BST
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The defection of Natalie Elphicke from the Tories has played a role in boosting Labours poll lead by two points in just a week.

According to Techne UK’s weekly tracker poll, shared with The Independent, Labour’s support among those who would vote rose to 45 percent (up 1) while the Tories’s dropped a point to 21 percent giving Sir Keir Starmer a commanding 24-point lead.

The survey of 1,638 UK voters was taken in the wake of Dover MP Ms Elphicke crossing the floor from the Tories to Labour with a damning indictment of Rishi Sunak’s government being “divided and incompetent”.

Ms Elphicke was particularly unhappy about the government failing to meet Mr Sunak’s pledge of “stopping the boats” of asylum seekers crossing the Channel from France.

Elphicke takes her place behind Starmer
Elphicke takes her place behind Starmer (PA)

The rightwing party which claims the Tories have been too soft, Reform UK, were on 12 percent (down 1) according to the poll, while the Lib Dems were up 1 to 11 percent and Greens remained the same on 6 percent.

If the survey result was repeated in a general election, Electoral Calculus predicts that the Conservatives would be reduced to a historic low of just 45 seats while Labour would enjoy a 364-seat majority.

While many in Labour are unhappy with Ms Elphicke being welcomed into the party, Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo said that the latest Tory chaos surrounding the defection ad contributed to a rise in Labour’s poll lead. She was also dismissive of Mr Sunak’s claims that the local election results suggested there will be “a hung parliament” with no overall majority after the general election.

She told The Independent: “This has been a very grim political week for the prime minister, summarised best by the Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke crossing the floor to join Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

“Regardless of the party political spinning all the takeaways from last week’s local elections point to a majority Labour government at the next general elections.

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“Now that it seems that any general election will take place not before the autumn of this year, the government would be well advised to focus on the immediate cost of living crisis for all hard working families. But the question is: would that be enough at this point to take back disenchanted Conservative voters? Time will tell.”

The data in the poll painted an even worse picture for the Tories and Mr Sunak.

Only 39 percent - less than four in 10 - of Tory voters in the 2019 general election would now support the party. A total of 14 percent agree with Ms Elphicke and have switched to Labour, 18 percent have gone to Nigel Farage’s Reform UK while 12 percent are uncertain and another 12 percent will not vote.

Added to that Labour has a clear lead in every socio-economic, educational level and age category.

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