Rishi Sunak has been warned that he has a year to make progress on the economy, the NHS and illegal immigration if he is to stand any chance of winning the next election.
Senior Tories have told HuffPost UK that the prime minister needs to get on with tackling the big issues facing the country in 2023 as the party slumps in the polls.
A Sevanta study suggests Labour could scoop as many as 482 seats, with the Tories being left with just 69 seats.
Sunak, along with his two predecessors, Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, would be among the Tory big-hitters to lose their seats.
The poll was carried out using a so-called “MRP model”, which has been shown to be more accurate than traditional surveys.
Unlike other polls, it takes account of a wide range of factors to predict how certain groups are likely to vote.
The Sevanta poll puts support for Labour on 48 per cent, with the Conservatives on 28 per cent, the Lib Dems on 11 per cent, Nigel Farage’s Reform UK on 4 per cent and the Greens on 3 per cent.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, a senior Tory MP said: “Rishi has steadied the ship. Calm has been restored. The party and most of the country welcome that.
“But Rishi now needs to deliver some tangible positives on the economy, and tackle illegal migration whilst still attracting legal migrants to help fill all the vacancies across the country. The NHS must also be a priority.
“He can’t fix it all before the next election but he must make some tangible progress if we are to recover in the polls.
“The economy, migration and the NHS will all determine the party’s future prospects.”
Another Conservative backbencher said: “I think Tory MPs are looking for stability.
“If you speak to ordinary people, they are just relieved that things have calmed down again after the Johnson and Truss experience.”
“Near death experience”
One former minister told HuffPost UK that the Tories had had “a near death experience” and the vast majority of MPs are now willing to back Sunak.
“They realise that Rishi is now the only game in town so we have to support him,” they said.
However, one MP said the Tory backbench rebellions over housebuilding targets and onshore wind projects – both of which forced Sunak into embarrassing U-turns – showed that the PM will have trouble keeping his party united.
“The reality is that if 25 Tory MPs are against something, it can’t happen,” the MP said. “Rishi is very much at the behest of the party on many fronts, rather than being in control of events.”