Polling experts say Rishi Sunak ‘cannot be written off quite yet’

Rishi Sunak: Voters want Tories to ‘deliver for them’

Rishi Sunak can keep alive hopes of remaining in No10 despite last week’s disastrous local election results for the Tories, say pollsters.

The Prime Minister, they add, “cannot be written off quite yet”.

The results – according to research by respected pollsters Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher – show Labour are not on course for a majority at the next general election.

The experts added: “Always remember that local elections are just that.

“Labour was 11 points behind the Tories at the 2004 contests and bounced back to win Tony Blair his third term a year later.

“In 2017, Theresa May called a general election, seemed to have sealed the deal with stunning local results during the campaign, only to see her party’s overall majority wiped out a few weeks later.”

In last week’s elections, the Tories lost 1,061 councillors – surpassing fears of party chiefs.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed the results showed that he was on course to be the next prime minister.

His party picked up 536 seats while the Lib Dems collected 407 new ones. The Conservatives lost control of more than 40 councils.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said the Prime Minister is “starting to gain the trust of the British public” after “a really difficult few years” for the Conservatives.

She conceded voters are “frustrated and angry”, but pointed towards the war in Ukraine and Covid for the cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Frazer told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “If we could look at the context for the whole local election, we’ve been in power for a long time. We’ve just had a pandemic which has disrupted many people’s lives and has had consequences for the economy, as has the war in Ukraine, which is going on.”

She added: “I totally recognise we’ve had a really difficult few years.

“I do think that the Prime Minister, who’s now been in office for six months, is getting the country back on track and is delivering.

“I think we’re starting to gain the trust of the British public.”

However, some senior Conservative MPs are now demanding that Mr Sunak bring forward tax cuts to reignite support for the party.

Veteran MP Sir John Redwood warned: “Last Thursday many Conservative voters went on strike.

“They do not want to vote for higher taxes, anti-enterprise policies and a failure to take back control of our borders.”

But Ms Frazer told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg On Sunday programme: “When people see us delivering, then we will regain the trust of the British people.”

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