PMQs: Sunak and Starmer clash over NHS waiting times
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Rishi Sunak has led his party to a comeback in the polls this week bringing Labour’s lead down to below 20 points for the first time since Christmas. The Techne UK tracker poll for express.co.uk saw support for the Tories rise one point to 27 percent and Labour’s drop a point to 46 percent giving Sir Keir Starmer’s party a still healthy lead of 19 percent.
In further good news for Mr Sunak support for Richard Tice’s Reform UK appears to be going backwards with the party losing one percent this week taking it down to 6 percent.
While the Tories still have a long way to overcome Labour’s substantial lead the gains have given the party hope that the Prime Minister can turn their fortunes around before an election takes place sometime in 2024.
Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo believes the dent in Labour’s lead has come from growing fatigue over the strikes which many Labour MPs have been supporting and joining people on the picket lines.
There have been long term strikes by rail workers but also nurses, ambulance drivers and even lawyers.
This week Mr Sunak’s government pushed through minimum service legislation in the Commons to ensure that strikes do not deny people life saving treatment in hospitals and public services can be kept going.
Labour’s refusal to back the legislation which trade unions have characterised as an anti-strike law has appeared to hurt Starmer especially in the weekly exchanges at Prime Minister’s questions (PMQs) where he has been challenged by Mr Sunak on the subject.
The refusal to support a new law which would put Britain on a par with Italy, France and Spain in terms of minimum service has underlined that Labour’s strong links to the trade unions including large donations to MPs.
Ms Morizzo said: “In the grip of ongoing and expanding strike action our tracker poll shows the Labour Party national vote share declining by one point to 46 percent whilst by contrast the Conservative Party national vote share grows by one point to 27 percent.
“This small swing back to the Conservatives from Labour shows that public opinion around the strikes particularly is not straight forward. Indeed, the Government’s proposal to bring forward legislation that key services like health and education must adopt minimum service level agreements and broad voter support for such measures is indicative of what is no doubt a complex picture.
“Our poll shows the Lib Dem national vote share grow by one point to 9 percent and for the first week in five weeks Reform UK vote share goes down to 6 percent. These are unsettled times, not least in voter opinion of the main political parties.”
Despite gaining some ground on Labour, the Tories would still be faced with one of their worst ever defeats if this poll was to play out in an election.
The Conservatives would be on just 143 seats, their lowest ever and Labour would have a majority of 174.
The poll shows that one in five (19 percent) Conservative voters from 2019 still plan to vote Labour this time round and last week it was revealed that two thirds of voters will not change their mind by the time of the next election.
Labour continues to lead in every age and socio-economic category and have even picked up more than a quarter (27 percent) of 2016 Leave voters despite new evidence that a pro-EU group is putting Rejoiners in as candidates in key target seats.
Labour is also strongest among voters aged up to 44 with more than half intending to back Starmer’s party.
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