Politics

Labour surges to record lead in polls as Truss insists mini-budget did not cause economic turmoil

Labour has surged to record leads in multiple polls in the wake of the economic turmoil after the government’s mini-budget.

A YouGov/Times poll placed Labour 33 points ahead of the Conservatives, believed to be the largest lead for Labour in any recorded poll since 1998, when the-then PM Tony Blair was enjoying his “honeymoon period”.

And a Survation poll had Labour on a 21-point lead – also the largest Labour lead the pollsters have ever recorded. Some 49% would vote for Labour while 28% for Conservatives, the survey found.

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A Deltapoll/Mirror poll put Labour 19 points ahead of the Tories, with 48% of voters from Tuesday to Thursday saying they would vote for Labour and 29% for the Conservatives.

Much of the YouGov poll’s Labour lead was buoyed by 17% of people who had previously voted for Boris Johnson saying they would now vote for Labour – double that of a week ago.

And 50% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2019 would now vote for Labour, up from 27% at the start of this week.

More on Conservatives

26% of Tory voters also told YouGov they now do not know who to vote for.

Reacting to the YouGov poll, a Tory MP told Sky News: “You’re bloody joking, that’s annihilation.”

Another said they were “shell-shocked”.

Election Maps UK collated the YouGov data and found if a general election was held tomorrow Labour would gain 296 seats to have a majority of 346, with the Tories losing 304 seats, leaving them with just 61 MPs.

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PM and chancellor’s loyalty call

On Thursday evening, the Treasury confirmed Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng will meet the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the UK’s independent fiscal watchdog, on Friday.

Much of the market turmoil following the mini-budget has been blamed on the lack of an OBR economic forecast, which was not requested by the Treasury.

The Treasury insisted it was not an emergency meeting after the powerful cross-party Treasury Committee earlier demanded Mr Kwarteng bring forward the full forecast and the medium-term budget planned for 23 November.

Bounce for Labour

Sir Keir Starmer has enjoyed a bounce following the Labour conference this week, which was generally seen as positive for the opposition leader.

His popularity has boomed even more as the markets continue to react negatively to the chancellor’s £45bn package of tax cuts revealed less than a week ago.

Even since Tuesday, four days after the mini-budget, Labour has continued to gain in the polls.

Read more:
Jon Craig analysis: Labour’s poll lead spikes alarmingly for Tories, increasing pressure for government U-turn

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Thursday’s YouGov poll gave Labour a nine-point boost from a poll it did from last Friday to Sunday, while the Tories went down seven points.

However, in a series of interviews on Thursday – their first since the pound reached a record low on Monday – Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng doubled down as they blamed global events for the economic turmoil.

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The prime minister insisted the government took “decisive action” that will aid growth and said they had to take “urgent action” to kick-start the economy and protect consumers from rising energy costs.

During a visit to an engine plant in Darlington, the chancellor said the plan is aimed at “protecting people right across the country” and was “absolutely essential” for growth.

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Chancellor ‘sticking with growth plan’

Mr Kwarteng also tried to rally Tory MPs on Thursday as several have spoken of their despair and anger at the economic plans and the subsequent turmoil.

In a message, he wrote: “Colleagues…I understand your concern.

“We are one team and need to remain focused.

“The only people who win if we divide is the Labour Party.”

Conservative chair of the powerful Treasury Committee of cross-party MPs, Mel Stride, also wrote to Mr Kwarteng on Thursday demanding he publishes the independent Office for Budget Responsibility’s full forecast by the end of October instead of 23 November, and also bring forward the budget planned for then as well.

Mr Stride said it is “hard to conclude other than that an absence of a forecast has in some part driven the lack of confidence in markets”.

He added: “Some have formed the unfortunate impression that the government may be seeking to avoid scrutiny, possibly on account of expecting the OBR forecast to be unsupportive of the achievement of the economic outcomes the government expects from the growth plan, including 2.5% trend growth in the medium term.”

The YouGov/Times poll was carried out from 28-29 September. 1,712 adults were polled. Data were weighted to reflect the UK’s population.
Survation’s poll was carried out on 29 September. 1,329 adults were polled. Data were weighted.
Deltapoll/Mirror’s poll was carried out from 27-29 September. 1,613 adults were polled. Data were weighted.

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