Rishi Sunak blow after HS2 fall-out derails Tory conference polls bounceback

Rishi Sunak announces scrapping of HS2

Rishi Sunak has suffered a major blow after a weekly tracker poll revealed his party failed to get a bounce in popularity from its conference – but instead saw Labour extend its lead.

According to this week’s Techne UK findings, the Conservatives lag 19 points behind Labour – with 26 percent to their 45 percent.

The result from interviews with 1,635 voters means the Tories dropped a point in the last week when they would have been hoping to make a gain from the publicity surrounding the conference in Manchester.

But after the conference was dominated with rival factions and MPs on the right issuing demands on tax cuts and other policies, as well as a a row over the cancellation of High Speed 2’s northern leg to Manchester, the Conservative recovery apears to have been derailed.

For three of the four previous weeks, the Tories had gained on Labour narrowing the lead by three points.

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READ MORE: HS2 dropped to free £36bn for ‘hundreds’ of travel projects

Rumours the government had made the decision to cut HS2’s leg to Manchester dominated the conference, but Transport Secretary Mark Harper did not even refer to it in his speech in the same city.

Eventually, the Prime Minister confirmed the decision in his speech as he promised to put the money into a Network North transport upgrade in the north and midlands.

But the decision was attacked by former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Boris Johnson as well as George Osborne, who as Chancellor launched the scheme in 2011.

However, there were other problems at conference with former Prime Minister Liz Truss, Dame Priti Patel, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and other senior figures demanding Mr Sunak brings in tax cuts as well as demands to leave the European Convention of Human Rights.

A Conservative Democratic Organisation dinner for the grassroots saw Tory peer and former party donor Lord Cruddas call for others to defund the Conservatives.

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Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo said: “Rishi Sunak closed this week’s Conservative Party Conference stating that the political system was broken and that voters are exhausted.

“From afar it did really seem the Conference was dominated by rival factions and differing leadership ambitions.

“Our tracker poll this week seems to confirm this overall frustration with the Conservative Party as they drop one point in national vote share to 26 percent, but with the Labour Party holding firm at 45 percent of national vote share.

“The Labour lead grows again to 19 points – definately not the Conference bounce that the Party would have wished.

“This confirms how difficult times people are facing and how sensitive they are in changing opinion following statements that lead to greater uncertainty about the future.”

The poll also put the Lib Dems up one to 11 percent while the Greens and Reform UK both stayed the same on 6 percent.

According to Electoral Calculus, if this poll was the result in a general election Labour would have a majority of 222 while the Tories would be reduced to 131 seats.

The problems for the Tories are underlined that just 48 percent of their supporters from 2019 would still vote for them according to the Techne UK findings.

One in five would not vote at all or are “uncertain” how they would vote and 16 percent would support Labour.

Labour has a lead in every age group and income bracket.

The Tories are also losing their crown as the party of Brexit with just three in 10 (30 percent) of 2016 Leave voters now backing them.

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