Labour Poll Lead Evaporates as Partygate Attacks Backfire on Starmer
© Toby MelvilleBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, and British Labour Party opposition leader Keir Starmer proceed through the Members' Lobby for the State Opening of Parliament
© Toby Melville
Sir Keir Starmer has made lambasting PM Boris Johnson over the 'Partygate' affair the central plank of his strategy as opposition leader — while backing coronavirus lockdowns and sanctions on Russia that have caused rampant inflation.
Labour's poll lead over the ruling Tories has dwindled to a single point after leader Sir Keir Starmer's attacks on the prime minister rebounded on him.
The pollster, which accurately predicted the outcome of the last general election in 2019, found the main opposition party's lead over PM Boris Johnson's Tories had slipped from six points in late April to just one.
Labour had lost three points in support in the survey of 1,707 voters, while the Conservatives had gained two.
The poll was conducted over Thursday May 5, the day of the local government elections, and Friday May 6, when the Durham Constabulary announced it had re-opened an investigation into a late-night takeaway dinner for up to 30 people at Labour City of Durham MP Mary Foy's office on April 30 last year.
The force claimed the U-turn was down to new evidence — amid a slew of revelations in the media including Rayner's presence at the event, previously denied by Labour — but admitted it had waited until the day after the election to make the announcement.
Starmer has been accused of hypocrisy for refusing to resign after the police probe was announced or for making misleading statements — as he repeatedly demanded of Johnson.
Asked which of the two main party leaders would make the best prime minister, 33 per cent still chose Starmer to BoJo's 27, although the gap had narrowed by three points. But the most common response was still "don't know".
Labour has held a consistent lead — its first in almost two years — since early December last year, when allegations of after-hours partying by Downing Street staff during the pandemic lockdown first appeared in the media.
Tory backbencher Graham Stuart couldn't resist a few jokes at Starmer's expense during the Queen's Speech debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.