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Monday July 22, 2024

Hard-right Reform UK leapfrogs Tories for first time in poll

By AFP
June 15, 2024
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. AFP/file
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. AFP/file 

LONDON: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday played down a “seismic” poll suggesting that his Conservative party has fallen behind the hard-right anti-immigration Reform UK group for the first time.

But a senior Tory insisted that the YouGov survey was a “stark warning” that the main opposition Labour party was on track for a landslide win at next month´s general election.

“The only poll that matters is the one on July 4,” Sunak told British media in Italy, where he was attending the G7 leaders´ meeting.

The new poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, shows Brexiteer Nigel Farage´s Reform with 19 percent support, compared to the Conservatives´ 18 percent. Both are trailing far behind the centre-left Labour party.

“The fact that Nigel Farage´s party are neck and neck with the governing Conservatives is a seismic shift in the voting landscape,” YouGov said.

It cautioned, though, that the figures are “well within the margin of error of one another”.

“We will not be able to tell for some time whether Reform can sustain or improve their position relative to the Conservatives,” the pollsters added.

The survey indicated that Labour, led by Keir Starmer, still held a commanding lead at 37 percent, in line with other surveys that have put it some 20 points ahead for nearly two years.