Labour stands chance in GE?

PM calls General Election for June 8

Download Perspecs
Perspecs

Theresa May calls snap election

Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP have all vowed to block Brexit, which left Theresa May no alternative but to call a General Election on June 8 in an attempt to swell the Tory majority in Parliament and prevent opposers from getting what they want.

After an embarrassing Budget U-turn on National Insurance forced by about 20 Tories refusing to support it, Mrs May currently faces a struggle to get her priorities, such as grammar schools, past her party.

She is constrained by a 2015 manifesto which she didn't write and which includes commitments to staying in the single market and running a budget surplus.

With the forthcoming Queen's Speech set to be dominated by Brexit bills, it would give Mrs May a boost not only domestically but in Europe.

In fact, former Tory leader William Hague has publicly advised her to call for an election in order to show her negotiating partners that she has a resounding mandate. She took his advice.

In terms of the logistics, getting an early election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act passed in 2011 involves two-thirds of all MPs - 434 out of 650 - voting for it.

Or a vote of no confidence, although this would be considered a nuclear option.

Mr Corbyn has made clear he would advise his MPs to do so and that he is prepared for a snap election.

Yes there are problems: if the SNP retain all of their existing MPs having called for an independence referendum, it could give Nicola Sturgeon a renewed mandate for independence.

The election campaign will put Mrs May's Brexit strategy to the test and could reopen divisions of the EU referendum campaign.

But her trump card is to accuse the other parties of opposing the will of the people.

A YouGov survey for The Times has headline numbers of the Tories on 44%, Labour on 23%, Liberal Democrats on 12%, and Ukip on 10%.

Labour’s rating is the lowest recorded by YouGov since 2009.

It is the second poll in as many days to put the Tories more than 20 points ahead of Labour after ComRes gave the Conservatives their biggest lead in government since 1983.

That survey had the Tories on 46% and Labour on 25%.

But it also found general public support for some of Labour’s key policies, with 71% in favour of a £10/hour minimum wage, 62% backing increasing the top rate of tax from 45p to 50p, and 53% agreeing with the plan to introduce universal free school meals for primary pupils by scrapping tax breaks on private school fees.

In response to the ComRes polling, Mr Corbyn told the Independent: “Our policies are popular because to most people it’s common sense that our Government should act in the interests of the overwhelming majority and that will mean taking on the powerful.

“The people of Britain have been held back too long, but we have the ideas and the will to change the country for the better.

“There’s so much more to come and as the party comes together to campaign for these popular polices, we are convinced our support in the polls will increase.”

Another poll out by Opinium for the Observer put the gap between Labour and the Conservatives much closer, at 9%.

Diane Abbott, one of Mr Corbyn’s closest allies in the Shadow Cabinet, said last week that Labour could be polling in the single digits if it had a different leader.

Download Perspecs
Download Perspecs