• Thursday, Jan 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:09 pm

Poll shows UK Tories headed for comfortable win

  • Published at 10:41 pm November 28th, 2019
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Britain's PM Boris Johnson speaks to workers and invitees during his visit to Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm in Callestick, Cornwall on November 27, 2019 AFP

Britain votes on December 12, with Johnson hoping to secure a majority to be able to push through his plan to leave the European Union at the end of January

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives are heading for a comfortable win in next month's election, according to a detailed new poll, amid reports on Thursday that the rival Labour party is refocusing its strategy.

The YouGov survey published late Wednesday said if the contest were held now, the Conservatives would snatch 44 seats from the main opposition party to win a 68-seat majority in the House of Commons.

The poll - the biggest so far in this campaign to predict election results seat-by-seat - uses a model that correctly forecast 93%of seats in the last election in 2017, according to YouGov.

Britain votes on December 12, with Johnson hoping to secure a majority to be able to push through his plan to leave the European Union at the end of January.

The data showed larger swings from Labour to the Conservatives in areas that are more pro-Brexit, especially in England's northern and central regions.

Labour has promised a new referendum on Brexit, and although leader Jeremy Corbyn says he would be neutral, many of his top team have said they would campaign to stay in the EU.

"As expected, the key thing deciding the extent to which each of these seats is moving against Labour (is) how that seat voted in the European Union referendum" in 2016, said Chris Curtis, YouGov's political research manager.

The Tories are keen not to seem complacent, however.

Dominic Cummings, a Johnson advisor who masterminded the 2016 Brexit campaign, warned just hours before the YouGov poll was published that the race remained tight.

"As someone who has worked on lots of campaigns, things are much tighter than they seem and there is a very real possibility of a hung parliament," he wrote in personal blog post addressed to Brexit supporters.

"Without a majority, the nightmare continues. All other MPs will gang together to stop Brexit and give EU citizens the vote," Cummings added.

Labour switches focus

Labour, which has been consistently behind in all polls for months, is now set to refocus its struggling campaign on constituencies that voted for Brexit in 2016, the BBC reported on Thursday.

This will see more airtime given to Labour MPs who wanted to leave the EU, and more activists sent to Leave-voting seats.

The party will also reportedly emphasise that its plan for a new referendum is not a smokescreen to reverse Brexit but intended to give voters a genuine choice.

Labour may take heart from the YouGov tally showing that at least 30 seats earmarked as Conservative gains are still within 5% points reach, while several other recent polls show a closer contest overall.

Elsewhere, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank on Thursday criticised spending claims made by both Labour and the Conservatives.

Labour have outlined a huge programme of public investment and nationalisations, while the Tories have also promised to end a decade of austerity.

But the IFS said neither were offering a "properly credible prospectus" in their manifesto.