‘I wouldn’t bet against the bookies’: Tory gloom deepens as Lib Dem poll rating spikes just nine days before crucial Tiverton and Honiton by-election
- New poll shows Lib Dems have climbed to 15% support among British voters
- The survey comes just nine days before crucial Tiverton and Honiton by-election
- Tory loss in the Devon constituency could prompt new challenege against PM
Tory gloom around losing the upcoming Tiverton and Honiton by-election next week will have deepened after a new poll showed support for the Liberal Democrats spiking.
With nine days to go until voters head to the polls in the Devon constituency, there is a growing expectation that the Conservatives will lose a seat they have held ever since it was created in 1997.
The Lib Dems are eyeing a hat-trick of by-election victories after their recent successes in Amersham and Chesham, and North Shropshire.
Their hopes will have been boosted by a Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey, which revealed the Lib Dems have climbed to 15 per cent support in a poll of national voting intention.
This is two percentage points higher than last week’s poll.
The Tories are unchanged on 32 per cent and Labour down one percentage point on 39 per cent, when voters were asked which party they would back if a general election was held tomorrow.
A downbeat Conservative source told MailOnline that punters shouldn’t be betting against bookies, who have installed the Lib Dems as favourites in Tiverton and Honiton.
ARedfield and Wilton Strategies survey revealed the Lib Dems have climbed to 15 per cent support in a poll of national voting intention
Tory MPs have put Boris Johnson on notice that he could face another challenge against his leadership if he loseskey by-elections next week
The PM, pictured with Tory candidate Helen Hurford, is facing defeat in the Devon constituency
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, with the party’s by-election candidate Richard Foord, is eyeing success in the Tiverton and Honiton contest
Meanwhile, a separate poll revealed that more than two in five (43 per cent) of rural Conservative voters – such as those found in the Devon constituency – thought the party took rural communities for granted.
As well as the contest in Tiverton and Honiton, a by-election in Wakefield will also be held on 23rd June.
While the Lib Dems are the bookies’ choice to win in Devon, Labour are odds-on to win back the West Yorkshire constituency they lost to the Tories at the 2019 general election.
Tory MPs have put Boris Johnson on notice that he could face another challenge against his leadership if he loses both by-elections.
Defeat in Tiverton and Honiton – a seat which was vacated when Tory MP Neil Parish resigned after admitting to watching porn in the House of Commons – will especially spook Conservatives who represent constituencies in the party’s so-called ‘Blue Wall’ across southern England.
A Conservative source admitted the recent Tory infighting over the Prime Minister’s position in Number 10 had affected the party’s chances in Devon.
They highlighted how postal votes for the by-election were received last Tuesday, the day after Mr Johnson faced a battering by rebel Tory MPs in a confidence vote.
The source told MailOnline: ‘I wouldn’t be advising anyone to bet against the bookies.’
But, despite the Tory gloom, the Lib Dems aren’t yet fully confident of success.
A party source told MailOnline the contest was ‘certainly looking interesting’ but insisted it would be ‘more of an uphill battle’ for the party than the recent victories in Amersham and Chesham, and North Shropshire.
They noted how victory in Tiverton and Honiton would be the biggest majority ever overturned in a by-election in British political history.
The source added that the Tories were ‘flooding the constituency with visits from Cabinet ministers’, including one by the PM on Friday.
A Savanta ComRes survey, commissioned by the Lib Dems, found that more than than two in five (43 per cent) of rural Conservative voters thought the party took rural communities for granted.
This rose even further among Conservative voters living in villages (48 per cent) and all adults living in rural communities (49 per cent).
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘This Conservative Government simply doesn’t care about rural parts of the country.
‘Conservative MPs and candidates ignore these communities at their peril.
‘There is a growing revolt at a Conservative Party which allows rural health services to be cut to the bone and fails to save people from the cost of living crisis.
‘Rural areas are being hardest hit by this financial crisis as petrol prices spiral and no help is given for those relying on heating oil.’