Poll putting Tories on 98 seats shows ‘real anger’ of public, says Iain Duncan Smith

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain says the public feels a 'real anger' towards the government
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain says the public feels a 'real anger' towards the government - JESSICA TAYLOR/PA
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The public feels a “real anger” towards the Government, Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said as a new poll showed the Conservatives are on track to win fewer than 100 seats at the election.

Sir Iain, a former Tory leader, said voters had good reasons to be “angry, annoyed and fed up” with his party over legal and illegal immigration and a record post-war tax burden.

His comments came after a Survation poll of 15,029 people suggested the Tories will win 98 seats to Labour’s 468, giving Sir Keir Starmer’s party a majority of 286 seats and raising fresh questions about the future of Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

Asked about its findings by Times Radio, Sir Iain said: “This is mostly concern and anger about cost of living, the problems post-Covid, the money we had to spend for higher levels of taxation, and the economy, which had been in difficulty.

“Migration has [also] become a very big issue. All good reasons why the public is angry, annoyed and fed up. This is all about a real anger with the Government. I can fully understand that. There are things the Government has got to get straight.

“Bring inflation down, interest rates down, taxation down. Get [Rwanda] flights off the ground. Getting pressure off people’s backs financially is absolutely critical. We have a few months to make sure people are better off.”

Sir Iain warned the “general view” of the public was that his party “have no strength”, adding: “The most important thing is to deliver.”

Sir Keir Starmer is predicted to lead his party to victory
Sir Keir Starmer is predicted to lead his party to victory - LABOUR PARTY/LABOUR PARTY

It came as Mr Sunak looked to ease cost of living pressures on households as a drop in energy bills and an increase to the National Living Wage came into force.

The Prime Minister insisted 2024 would be “the year Britain bounces back” and said the measures could save households an average of £3,850 a year coupled with recent cuts to National Insurance.

The National Living Wage has risen from £10.42 to £11.44 as of Monday, while a fall in the Ofgem energy price cap of around 12 per cent is projected to save households around £250 a year on their energy bills.

Mr Sunak said: “Today’s measures could save households around £3,850 year on average which – taken with the upcoming cuts to National Insurance – will put more money in their pockets to help ignite the economy. Although recent years have tested our resolve, we have not bowed. We have stuck to the plan, more than halved inflation, and set us on a path to growth.

“Because of this determination, we find ourselves in a new economic moment and, thanks to our bumper package of economic reforms coming into force today, 2024 is set to be the year Britain bounces back.”

Downing Street claimed the Prime Minister had now succeeded in achieving three of the ‘five pledges’ he set out at the start of 2023 - to halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt.

Darren Jones, Labour’s chief secretary to the Treasury, accused Mr Sunak of being “detached from reality” and blamed the Conservative Party for the current recession.

In the poll, Labour led by 19 percentage points – up three from the end of last year – with the official opposition commanding 45 per cent of support and the Tories 26 per cent.

Cabinet ministers projected to lose their seats include the Home Secretary James Cleverly, the Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, and the Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt.

The poll also found the Tory seat haul would increase by more than 50 per cent if Reform UK, Richard Tice’s insurgent Right-wing party, was to stand aside.

The Conservatives would win 150 seats if Reform did not stand candidates across the UK, although Mr Tice has insisted that, unlike the Brexit Party in 2019, he will contest every seat.

The full cabinet portrait
The full cabinet portrait - SIMON WALKER/NO 10 DOWNING STREET

The Survation poll, which was commissioned by the campaign group Best for Britain, used a multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP) method, which successfully forecasted the 2017 and 2019 UK elections.

MRP gives an indication of the actual election result by predicting which seats will go to which party. An MRP poll by YouGov for The Telegraph in January predicted the Tories will win 169 seats, while Labour will sweep to power for the first time in 14 years with 385.

The poll fuelled speculation in Westminster about Mr Sunak’s future amid a polling deficit of around 20 percentage points and members of the Tory Right holding talks about bringing the Prime Minister down.

A Right-wing Conservative MP told The Telegraph: “Downing Street keeps assuring us that there is a plan.

“Well, at this point, independent mega-polls are showing we face an extinction-level event. Colleagues deserve to be able to see the plan to turn this around, and evaluate whether the current administration really is up to fixing the mess.”

Another MP from the Conservative party said Mr Sunak must be replaced before the next election. They said: “I think the people who say it’s okay to keep going like this are deluded about the reality of the situation. They’re out of touch with reality.

“We, one hundred per cent, need a new leader. The country’s lost without it, literally. I think anybody but Rishi would poll at least 50 to 100 seats more. We need somebody who’s able to speak to the country and set out an actual conservative vision for the future.”

Mr Sunak has ruled out holding a general election on May 2, the same day as the local elections, and referred to an election in the second half of the year as his “working assumption”.

Despite his party’s polling woes, the Prime Minister remains upbeat about its prospects and has declared he will win the next general election.

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