Ministers were scrambling to cool Tory panic today after a shock poll showed Rishi Sunak is heading for a 1997-style election wipeout.
That would represent the biggest collapse in support for a governing party since 1906, with an 11.5 per cent swing to Labour.
And the YouGov research adds credence to growing alarm about the impact of Reform UK on the result. The Nigel Farage-backed party is projected to contribute to the Labour landslide by taking enough votes to cost 96 Tories their constituencies – but not enough to secure a single MP of its own.
However, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps – who along with Jeremy Hunt is among the Cabinet big beasts at risk of losing their seats – insisted that the government can still ‘turn it around’.
In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Shapps said the world had been going through ‘unprecedented times with things like Covid and this war in Europe costing a lot of money’.
‘Look, the reason I think we can turn it around is because at least people know we have got a plan and we are working to it. There isn’t a plan under Labour,’ he said.
YouGov calculated the figures from the huge sample using the Multi-Level Regression and Poststratification (MRP) method, which maps characteristics of specific constituencies
Rishi Sunak (left) is heading for a 1997-style election wipeout at the hands of Keir Starmer (right), a major poll warned last night
YouGov calculated the figures from the huge sample using the Multi-Level Regression and Poststratification (MRP) method, which maps characteristics of specific constituencies.
It is regarded as having accurately forecast the 2017 and 2019 general election results.
According to results given to The Telegraph, every Red Wall seat won from Labour by Boris Johnson in 2019 would be lost if the election was held now.
The Tories would secure 196 fewer seats than in 2019, which is more than Sir John Major lost in 1997.
Although Reform is not forecast to win any seats, it could cost Mr Sunak 96 MPs – the difference between a Labour landslide and a hung parliament.
Mr Farage yesterday said he was ‘seriously considering’ a return to frontline politics after a separate survey by Survation suggested he could well win a seat when Britain goes to the polls.
There is also grim news for the Scottish National Party, which is estimated to lose almost half of its MPs to Labour – keeping only 25.
The YouGov poll will be scrutinised closely by Conservative MPs who believe that a change of leader might be the only way to avoid disaster at the general election.
It was commissioned by the Conservative Britain Alliance and carried out by YouGov with support from former Cabinet minister Lord Frost.
If the poll is to be believed, the election result would be the biggest collapse in support of a governing party since 1906.
Sir Keir would be looking at at least 10 years in government because no party with such a sizeable majority has lost the following election.
Lord Frost, who writes for The Telegraph, said the polls findings were ‘stunningly awful’ for the party and that tactical voting and a decision by Nigel Farage to return to politics could leave the Tories facing an ‘extinction event’.
He said the only way to avoid defeat was ‘ to be as tough as it takes’ on immigration and to ‘reverse the debilitating increases in tax’ among other things.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he would stand in the newly-formed constituency of Godalming and Ash at the next election.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps – who along with Jeremy Hunt is among the Cabinet big beasts at risk of losing their seats – insisted that the government can still ‘turn it around’
The survey of 14,000 voters found the Tories are on course to lose nearly 200 seats at this year’s General Election, giving Sir Keir Starmer a 120-seat majority
At least 11 Cabinet ministers would lose seats, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
According to The Telegraph, Mr Hunt has a majority of 8,817 at present, but the poll predicts that the seat will go to the Liberal Democrats with 35 per cent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Penny Mordaunt – the MP for Portsmouth North – is set to lose her seat to Labour, who are looking to attain 26 per cent of the vote.
Mr Shapps, would expect to be in a safe seat having been the MP for Welwyn Hatfield since 2005.
However, the YouGov poll predicts that he will lose to Labour who will pull in 40 per cent of the vote.
MP Lee Anderson, who took his seat from Labour’s Gloria De Piero in 2019, is expected to lose his seat to Labour this time around. He is expected to take just 23 per cent of the vote.
It is predicted that Jacob Rees Mogg will cling on to his seat by just 1 per cent of the vote – 33 per cent in comparison to Labour’s 32 per cent. But Liberal Dem voters could topple him if they lent their votes to Labour.