Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer brace for PMQs on eve of by-elections
Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer brace for PMQs showdown on eve of crucial double by-election – with contest turning nasty as Tories fear defeat in both
Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will face off at PMQs today on the eve of a crucial double by-election battle.
The premier and Labour leader are set to resume their clashes for the first time since party conferences – and at a pivotal political moment.
Although the exchanges are likely to be subdued by the ongoing carnage in Israel and Gaza, the domestic political tensions are escalating ahead of voting in Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth.
The contest has been bad-tempered in both seats, with the latest salvo seeing the Tory candidate in Tamworth accused of suggesting in an old social media post that families using food banks should ‘f*** off’ if they could afford TVs and phones.
Rishi Sunak (right) and Keir Starmer (left) are set to resume their clashes for the first time since party conferences – and at a pivotal political moment.
Deltapoll research has offered more evidence of a ‘glitterbomb bounce’ for Keir Starmer after his conference last week
Conservative are braced for defeats as an internal memo warned their support has halved.
The leaked assessment suggested that in Mid Beds the vote share could plunge from the 60 per cent Nadine Dorries received in 2019 to 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, in Tamworth the missive to party chair Greg Hands predicted that backing could slump to between 28 per cent and 33 per cent. That compares to the 66 per cent ex-MP Chris Pincher had four years ago.
Although the claims were dismissed as expectation management, a Tory source told MailOnline that Labour had sidelined the Lib Dems as the campaign had gone on, and Ed Davey’s party was now targeting blue areas.
The source said the situation reflected national polling, which has put Labour up to 20 points ahead.
Losses in the historically safe seats would be a shattering blow for the PM, and would amplify the clamour for early tax cuts. The Tories have held Mid Beds since 1931.
Deltapoll research published earlier this week offered more evidence of a ‘glitterbomb bounce’ for Keir Starmer after his conference last week.
Labour was up four on 47 per cent while the Conservatives were down one on 27 per cent.
A separate Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey had slightly better news for Mr Sunak with the gap narrowing from 16 to 14 points.
There was little sign of a boost for Mr Sunak from the Conservative conference in Manchester at the start of the month.
A separate Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey had slightly better news for Mr Sunak with the gap narrowing from 16 to 14 points
But Labour’s gathering in Manchester last week seemed to move the dial, with speculation that Sir Keir gained from his calm response to a protester storming the stage during his keynote speech.
A 28-year-old man was arrested after yelling that ‘democracy is in crisis’ as he poured glitter over the Opposition leader unchallenged.
Sir Keir – who still appeared to have some glitter on his face the following day – joked about the experience, saying it would take more than one ‘idiot’ to derail his plan to take power at the next election.
A YouGov poll afterwards showed Labour’s lead growing to 23 points, while Opinium at the weekend found it was up two points to 16.
Sir Keir’s personal approval rating rose nine points with the latter firm, to plus one. That included an 18-point increase in approval from 2019 Conservative voters.
In contrast, Mr Sunak’s approval rating was minus 24.
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