- Shock poll finds Jeremy Corbyn closing in on Theresa May in the race for Downing Street.
- Conservative lead down to five points compared to leads of more than 20 points at the start of the campaign.
- Huge boost in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings could cost Conservatives an overall majority.
- The election campaign resumes today with Corbyn speaking in central London.
LONDON — Theresa May risks being ousted from Downing Street after a shock new poll suggests Labour could be on course to cut her majority down to just two seats.
The YouGov poll for the Times found that the Conservatives are on 43%, just five points ahead of Labour on 38%.
At the start of the election campaign, some polls had the Tories with leads of more than 20 points.
The prime minister called the snap election last month in order to “strengthen my mandate” in Brexit negotiations.
However, if Friday’s poll were repeated on election day, May would face the ignominy of having gone to the country, only to see her government’s majority cut down to wafer-thin proportions.
New YouGov/Times poll:
- Conservatives: 43%
- Labour: 38%
- Liberal Democrats: 10%
- UKIP: 4%
- Greens: 1%
If repeated on a universal swing on June 8th, today’s poll would see Labour take eight seats from the Conservatives with May’s party failing to gain any from Labour.
Today’s poll also finds that public perceptions of Jeremy Corbyn have radically improved since the election campaign began. The Labour leader now has a net favourability of minus 8 compared to the minus 42 he had at the start of the campaign.
By contrast, Theresa May’s ratings have plummeted since the launch of her party’s manifesto and the row over the so-called “dementia tax.” The prime minister now has a net favourability of minus 11, just a few points higher than Corbyn’s.
The poll found some evidence that the surge in support for Corbyn and slump for May has been checked by the events of recent days.
YouGov found May’s ratings improved in the days following the terrorist attack in Manchester, while Corbyn’s have dipped.
The poll boost for Labour comes as the major parties resume their national election campaigns, following a three-day pause in the aftermath of the Manchester attack.
Jeremy Corbyn will this morning give a speech in central London responding to the events of the past week.
In comments that have already caused controversy, Corbyn will suggest that the government’s foreign policy carries some responsibility for terror attacks at home.
“No government can prevent every terrorist attack. If an individual is determined enough and callous enough sometimes they will get through,” he will say.
“But the responsibility of government is to minimise that chance – to ensure the police have the resources they need, that our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country and that at home we never surrender the freedoms we have won and that terrorists are so determined to take away.”
The Liberal Democrats accused Corbyn of trying to seek political advantage from the attack in Manchester.
“Some political leaders have sought to politicise the events of the week, but now is not the time, and this is not the event, to seek political advantage,” former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown said.
“The families of victims in Manchester have a right to expect political parties to respond with restraint and sensitivity to these unpardonable crimes.
“There will be a moment when we will want to look at the policy implications of what has happened, but that should not be in the shadow of these terrible events when the nation should stand together.”
Conservative security minister Ben Wallace told the BBC that Corbyn’s comments were “totally inappropriate.”