UK Politics: Polling shows dramatic fall in support for Tories

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The Conservatives are losing support in Westminster voting intention polling
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Support for Boris Johnson's Conservatives is ebbing away thanks to the "Domnishambles" and leadership contenders are on alert, reports Max Liu...

"The Tories [1.84] are still favourites to win the most seats but the price is drifting and Labour have shortened to [2.18].."

The Betfair Exchange odds on the Conservatives winning a majority at the next general election are drifting as polls show their lead over Labour evaporating amid the fallout from the Dominic Cummings scandal.

The Sportsbook market on Cummings losing his job by 1 June was suspended this weekend, as Boris Johnson said he considered the matter closed and urged the public to move on. But polling shows the incident has sparked a dramatic drop in support for the government and suggests there could be long term repercussions.

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According to a poll from Opinium, which was conducted on Thursday and Friday, more than two-thirds of voters - including more than half of Tory voters - think Cummings should be forced out of Downing Street for breaching lockdown rules.

When it comes to voting intention the Tory lead over Labour stands at just four points - a fall of eight points in one week and even more dramatic when you consider the Tories were 26 points ahead just two months ago. YouGov and Delta Poll also both show significant increases in support for Labour this week and the gap between opposition and government narrowing.

Latest election odds show Tories losing support


Cummings helped the Conservatives to win a majority in December but they're out to [3.0] to do that again next time Britain goes to the polls, with Labour into [3.2], and a hung parliament the favourite at [2.7].

The Tories [1.84] are still favourites to win the most seats but the price is drifting and Labour have shortened to [2.18].

The next election is [1.59] to take place in 2024, so the government will hope it can repair its reputation in time. But the Cummings incident - dubbed a "Domnishambles" by the Sunday Times today - has penetrated beyond Westminster and damaged the government's reputation.

That's exactly what Johnson and Cummings were hoping wouldn't happen and there are reports today that the PM, furious at his adviser's behaviour, has put him on a final warning. The Mail says Johnson "issued a stern rebuke to his aide... warning that he 'will not tolerate' another media firestorm."

Tory leadership rivals on alert

Government ministers are said to be angry at Johnson for sticking with Cummings and, according to the Sunday Times' Tim Shipman, Tory MPs with leadership ambitions are on alert.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak [4.8] is the favourite to succeed Johnson, and Michael Gove [12.5] would also be in contention, but Jeremy Hunt [15.5], who was Johnson's nearest rival in last summer's leadership election, hasn't given up on landing the top job.

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Hunt, who has occasionally criticised the government's handling of the pandemic, would have the advantage of being able to distance himself from current events, even though he was health secretary for six years.

He has reportedly been sounding out supporters about his leadership prospects in the past week.

Brexit transition to be extended?

It seems a safe bet that Cummings won't be in Downing Street by the next general election and some commentators think he will leave at the end of the year. That would, in theory, mean he could still be instrumental in helping the government to deliver a full Brexit by the end of the transition period.

This week the EU's Michel Barnier talked about offering the UK a two-year extension to the transition period which is due to end in six months. The UK government is adamant, however, that it doesn't want an extension and can agree a trade deal by the end of 2020.

Is that realistic? The pandemic has taken up time and resources and, with reports that some areas of the UK could be hit by the double economic whammy of the coronavirus and Brexit, it's possible the UK will need to think again. The picture should be clearer after Johnson meets the European commission president Ursula von der Leyen in the middle of June.

You can get 5/1 on the UK becoming a full member of the EU again by 2026.

Majority of Scots want IndyRef2

More than half of Scots want a referendum on independence, according to a poll this week.

Ipsos MORI found that 63% of people want another referendum, 34% want it within the next two years, 19% in two to five years, and 10% after the next five years.

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On Sportsbook, the next referendum is 2/9 to take place in 2022 or later while you can get even odds on Scots voting for independence.

The last referendum on the matter was in 2014 when Scots opted 55 to 45% to stay in the union. Subsequent events, such as Brexit which the majority of Scots opposed, have strengthened calls for another vote and the issue isn't going away, despite Boris Johnson's wishes.

UK - Next General Election: UK - Next General Election (Overall Majority)

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Thursday 2 May, 7.00am

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