Tories trail Labour by 14 POINTS as Rishi Sunak faces threat of his ‘reset’ being wrecked by double by-election hammering next month
The PM is attempting to ‘reset’ his government as the new Parliamentary term gets under way, and staged a limited reshuffle last week.
However, the latest Opinium survey showed Keir Starmer‘s party maintaining a 14-point lead, and the advantage has been even higher in other research.
Mr Sunak could also end up holding his first Conservative conference as premier in the shadow of two key Commons contests.
Nadine Dorries’ old Mid Beds seat is up for grabs, while former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher will learn this week whether his appeal against an eight-week suspension from the Commons has succeeded.
If his bid is rejected he will be subject to a recall petition, with speculation he could opt to resign his Tamworth constituency.
Typically the party defending the seat decides when to move the ‘writ’ triggering a by-election, but the contest would be expected some time in October.
Both are likely to tricky for the Tories, although their prospects could be helped in Mid Beds as Labour and the Lib Dems are squabbling about who is best-placed to mount a challenge.
With nerves mounting on the government benches, Jeremy Hunt today batted away Tory calls for immediate tax cuts.
The Chancellor insisted that he will ‘stick to the plan’ to ensure Mr Sunak‘s pledge to halve in inflation is kept – despite fears that the next set of figures could see CPI rise over 7 per cent again.
But his message was undermined by fresh signs of Conservative splits, as Michael Gove hinted at backing for taxes focused on wealth rather than income.
Mr Hunt is taking to the airwaves this morning as the PM tries to use the return of Parliament to ‘reset’ his government.
Mr Sunak has already carried out a limited reshuffle, surprising Westminster by installing ally Grant Shapps as Defence Secretary after the departure of Ben Wallace.
Another loyalist, Claire Coutinho, has been drafted in to to take Mr Shapps’ old duties as Net Zero Secretary.
But the shake-up was partly derailed by the shock resignation of No10 communications director Amber de Botton.