Labor and the Conservatives are neck-and-neck in the by-election for Nadine Dorries’ old Mid Bedfordshire constituency, new polls have shown.
The Survation poll provides evidence that a split in the “progressive” vote could allow Rishi Sunak’s party to retain the seat despite greater unpopularity.
Activists are urging Labor and the Liberal Democrats to form an unofficial electoral pact so that only one of the major parties pushes to take the Blue Wall stronghold.
The new Labor Together poll – which puts Labor and the Tories at 29 per cent – will increase pressure on Ed Davey to accept that Keir Starmer’s party has the best chance of achieving a 24,000 Tory majority.
The Liberal Democrats are in third place with 22 percent in the contest, which is scheduled to take place on October 19th. Reform UK has 7 percent, while independent candidate Gareth Mackey has 6 percent.
The Survation poll also found that a large proportion – 27 per cent – of people in the seat who want to vote are still undecided, with Labor activists piling on the results to encourage Liberal Democrat supporters to join the party Sir Keir to change.
Josh Simons, director of Labor Together, said the poll “clearly shows this is a two-way fight between Labor and the Conservatives”.
He added: After 13 years, Britain needs the Conservatives out and Keir Starmer’s Labor party in. Voting Labor is the best and only way for Mid Bedfordshire voters to send a message to this chaotic Tory government.”
However, the latest poll suggests Labor support is falling. An Opinium poll in June put Labor on 28 percent, the Tories on 24 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 15 percent.
Pollster Prof John Curtice said the vote could “collapse” but they could still “hold on” with the vote split between Labor and the Liberal Democrats almost even.
Tory politician and election expert Robert Hayward also said Rishi Sunak’s party had a good chance of winning. “Keir Starmer’s determination to prove he can appeal to all parts of the country has surprised the Liberal Democrats,” he said The Independent.
The Compass campaign group has warned that the “ghost” of the recent Uxbridge by-election is likely to loom looming over Mid Bedfordshire – pointing out that the Tories are hanging on despite Boris Johnson’s unpopularity.
Liberal Democrat representatives have argued that there is a natural cap on the Labor vote in Mid Bedfordshire due to demographics in the rural constituency.
Mr Davey made his fifth visit to the home district seat on Saturday, where he will speak to voters in rural villages. He said: “Lifelong Conservative voters are turning to the Liberal Democrats to send a message to this government.”
Mr Dorries finally formally resigned earlier this month after promising to step down in early June over her failure to secure a peerage on Boris Johnson’s resignation list.
Johnson’s arch loyalist was furious at her failure to secure a peerage for her former boss to step down – and claimed the “posh boy” Mr Sunak had prevented it.
The former culture secretary has claimed that No 10 is “taking the position” that her delayed book release was because she broke the ministerial code and was silenced.
Her book The plot: The political assassination of Boris JohnsonIt was scheduled to be published at the end of September, coinciding with the start of the Tory Party. However, the publication announced a postponement of legal reviews until November.
Ms Dorries denied that the book’s publication had been delayed due to issues with the ministerial code. “What she [No 10] I don’t seem to understand that it’s not about me or my time in office, it’s just about them. It will be worth the wait.”