The mysterious Daily Telegraph headline predicting a Tory wipeout. What’s the truth?
After weeks of focus on the Middle East, most newspapers this morning took a look at domestic matters. But one headline stood out amongst them all. The Daily Telegraph’s proclamation: “Tories facing 1997-style wipeout”. It’s caused quite a stir online and across newspaper websites. But it’s the truth because not all is what it seems.
What did the poll reveal?
The poll suggests that the Tories are facing a humiliating wipeout at the next general election with a swathe of senior MPs – including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, losing their seats.
The YouGov survey of 14,000 people suggests the Tories could retain as few as 169 seats, while Labour would sweep into power with 385 – giving Sir Keir Starmer a massive 120-seat majority.
The survey predicts Hunt could be one of 11 cabinet ministers to lose their seat in what would be the biggest collapse in support for a governing party since 1906.
Ministers such as Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and Deputy Conservative Party Chairman Lee Anderson.
Can the results be trusted?
Ultimately, no. The research was commissioned by Tory donors working with arch-Brexiteer Lord Frost. There’s a reason they want to spook the voter.
The blue-on-blue research was commissioned by a group of Tory donors who have called themselves the “Conservative Britain Alliance”.
The polling research, published exclusively in the right-wing Tory-based Telegraph, was released just one day before the Rwanda bill returns to parliament.
Experts have suggested the timing of the release of the polling is part of a wider plot to undermine Rishi Sunak’s leadership and push traditional Tory voters towards voting for a more extreme party such as Reform UK.
Frost has been heavily critical of Sunak’s leadership and has said the only way to bring back the 2019 Tory voters is to be as tough as it takes” on immigration, reverse tax increases and u-turn on renewable energy measures.
He said: “It is to set out a vision for why Conservative Britain will be different to the immigration-boosting, Brexit-undermining, taxing, spending, regulating, nannying, hectoring nightmare that Labour will bring. And it is to stop doing all those things ourselves.”
Responding to the findings, Paul Goodman, Editor of Conservative Home, questioned the timing of the poll in an article entitled “A leadership ballot? The game’s afoot.”
Writing in an op-ed, he said: “I smell a rat – or the seventh cavalry, depending on one’s view. A poll takes time to research but can be published quickly. It can be saved up for the most suitable moment in the view of those who have commissioned it and perhaps also those willing to publish it.”