The Tories could be headed for their biggest loss since the late 1990s, a new survey suggests
Britain’s Conservative party is slated for a major defeat in an upcoming general election and could lose some 180 seats in Parliament, according to a new poll, which predicts a significant windfall for Labour.
Published Monday, a YouGov survey of over 14,000 respondents found that Labour would take a “large majority” were the election held today, forecasting 385 seats for the left-leaning party. The Tories, meanwhile, would drop to just 169 seats in Parliament, well below the 349 currently held.
The results would mirror the outcome of the 1997 general election, when Tony Blair’s Labour party won 418 seats, the polling firm said. The Conservatives took a beating that year, emerging from the race with 165 seats.
In addition to a significant win for Labour, the Liberal Democrats would also take 48 seats, the new survey showed. The party currently holds just 15 seats in Parliament.
While the populist Reform UK party would not win any seats if the race were held today, the poll found the faction would pull a large number of votes away from the Conservatives, partially explaining the major loss for the governing party.
The race would mark the biggest drop in support for a ruling party since 1906, according to the Telegraph, which added that such a race would “all but guarantee [Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour] party at least a decade in government.”
Political parties are set to spend more than ever before this year thanks to a significant boost to spending limits from £19.5 million to £35 million. Individual donors will also be allowed to contribute more without declaring their identity, with the ceiling raised from £7,500 to £11,180.
While the Conservatives have historically raised more funds than their rivals, the new YouGov poll suggests the party will need to do more to secure its ruling majority. David Davis, a senior Conservative MP and former minister, argued that the increased spending limits would do little for the Tories, as “90 percent of electoral spending is wasted anyway.”
The upcoming general election expected in late 2024 will also see a shake-up in the UK’s political boundaries, with England gaining 10 new seats, Wales losing eight and Scotland losing two. While a Financial Times analysis found the Conservatives would have gained at least six more seats had those changes been enacted before the 2019 race, the reform is unlikely to help the party in 2024.