Major poll predicts heavy Tory election losses as Sunak and Starmer release Easter messages

Rishi Sunak's Easter message coincides with the release of a major survey that suggests the Tories could be reduced to fewer than 100 MPs at the general election, ITV News' Lewis Warner reports

A major poll has suggested the Conservatives will face one of their worst results in the upcoming general election as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer released their Easter messages.

Mr Sunak said Easter is a time to “pause and reflect” and praised the work of Christians in communities across the UK, adding that people would also be “thinking of those in pain and suffering around the world”.

However, the PM's message coincides with the release of a major survey that suggests the Tories could be reduced to fewer than 100 MPs at the general election.

The 15,000-person poll, carried out by Survation and published in the Times newspaper, was used to create a seat-by-seat breakdown, which indicated the Conservatives would be wiped out in Scotland and Wales and hold just 98 seats in England.

The survey put Labour on 45% with a 19-point lead over the Tories on 26%.

The constituency forecast suggested Sir Keir’s party could be on course for a landslide, winning 468 seats.

The poll also suggests the Scottish National Party would pick up 41 seats, the Liberal Democrats 22 and Plaid Cymru two.

Meanwhile Sir Keir, who hopes to be in No 10 by the end of the year, used his Easter message to reflect on a "time of optimism and new beginnings".

Speaking during a visit to St Martin in the Fields church, where the Labour leader met with Rev Dr Sam Wells and members of the church, Sir Keir said: "The Easter story is one of hope and renewal, of overcoming adversity and light prevailing over darkness.

"As families and friends gather to celebrate the holiday we turn our thoughts towards new beginnings, our future and how things can change for the better.

“Faith is really important. It's a place where people can invest a lot of themselves and find comfort, hope and a sense of security.

"This Easter I’d like to express my gratitude to the Christian community in the UK and beyond, for their generosity and compassion.

“At this time of optimism and new beginnings, I thank them for everything they do, and wish you all those celebrating a very Happy Easter.”

What does the poll predict?

The poll of 15,029 adults and MRP analysis by Survation was conducted between March 8-22.

In an analysis which will fuel Conservative unease about the threat from Reform UK, the survey suggested Richard Tice’s party will come second in seven seats and achieve an overall vote share of 8.5%, just behind the Liberal Democrats on 10.4%

But a model of what would happen if Reform UK did not stand suggested the Tories would win 150 seats – still a crushing defeat, but potentially giving Mr Sunak, or more likely his replacement, a better chance to rebuild.

The study, carried out by Survation for the internationalist Best for Britain campaign group, suggested several Cabinet ministers, including potential leadership contenders, could be ousted at the election as the Tories face their worst result.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt. Credit: PA

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, Home Secretary James Cleverly and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps would all lose their seats, according to the study, which used a multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) process to model constituency-level results.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch looks likely to retain her seat, along with former home secretary Suella Braverman and ex-immigration minister Robert Jenrick.

In Mr Sunak’s new Richmond and Northallerton seat, which, based on the 2019 results should be solidly Conservative, he has just a 2.4% lead over Labour, while Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has just a 1% margin over the Liberal Democrats in his new Godalming and Ash seat.

Best for Britain chief executive Naomi Smith said: “With the polling showing swathes of voters turning their backs on the Tories, it’s clear that this will be a change election.”

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