The Conservatives enter the New Year 16 points behind Labour in the 57 constituencies gained by Boris Johnson’s party in the 2019 General Election.
A new Deltapoll survey for the Mail on Sunday puts Sir Keir Starmer’s party on 49 per cent of the vote in key marginal seats ahead of the Tories on just 33 per cent.
If the results were repeated in a General Election it could lead to the loss of more than 100 Tory seats – enough to put Sir Keir in No10, although without a clear majority.
The findings come as Tory backbenchers are increasingly discussing whether to force a leadership challenge by sending letters calling for a vote to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservatives’ backbench 1922 Committee.
It is understood that so-called ‘Red Wall’ MPs are particularly concerned with the party’s direction, with one of those MPs, Ashfield’s Lee Anderson, warning Johnson that “some of the first-time Tory voters are beginning to have doubts” because “the huge rises in the cost of living coming down the track” which his voters “care far more about than the platitudes spouted about the ‘green agenda’ by the wealthy elite who flew into the COP26 summit in private planes”.
The prime minister hopes to quell the unrest with a ‘reboot’ of his Government this month, including a shake-up at No10 and the belated launch of his ‘levelling-up’ manifesto.
But the plans are understood to have been thrown into doubt by opposition from chancellor Rishi Sunak to more spending on top of hundreds of billions in Covid support for the economy.
The poll of 1,567 British adults between December 23 and 30 puts Mr Sunak as the favourite to succeed Mr Johnson in both the national and Red Wall samples.
The five-point national lead for Labour is the largest shown by Deltapoll since the General Election.
The firm said if its results were replicated at a General Election, the Tories could ‘lose more than 100 seats, including potentially upwards of 50 of those gained in 2019’.