Lib Dems bounce ahead of Labour as Conservatives plummet into single figures in European election polls
- The Liberal Democrats have leapfrogged Labour in European election polls, with 16% of voters intending to back Vince Cable's party after an effective anti-Brexit campaign.
- Support for the Conservative party continues to collapse following Theresa May's decision to delay Brexit.
- Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is heading for a major victory in the European elections.
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LONDON - The Liberal Democrats have overtaken Labour in European election polling as the Tories drop into single figures, according to a new survey.
The Lib Dems, who are running on an explicitly anti-Brexit platform, appear to be picking up support from Labour and the Greens after an effective campaign.
YouGov European elections poll
- The Brexit Party: 35% (+1)
- Labour: 15% (-1)
- Liberal Democrats: 16% (+1)
- Green Party: 10% (-1)
- Conservatives: 10% (-3)
- Change UK: 5% (no change)
(Survey carried out 12-16 May; changes since YouGov poll 8-9 May)
A YouGov poll for the Times found Nigel Farage's upstart Brexit Party - which is just months old - up 1 point on 35%, while the Lib Dems were on 16%, up 1 point, and Labour were on 15%, down 1 point. The Conservatives were on 9%, down 1 point.
Approximately 21% of voters who supported Labour in the 2017 general election now back the Lib Dems in the European elections, which is likely a result of Jeremy Corbyn's commitment to implement Brexit.
Lib Dem leader Vince Cable has moved to directly challenge Nigel Farage - who fronts the Brexit Party - and called for voters to support his party's "crystal-clear" support for remaining in the EU.
Speaking in Scotland on Thursday, Cable criticised Farage for spreading "dangerous fallacies" and said his assertion that the UK could adopt WTO rules under a no-deal Brexit were "completely untrue."
It is also the first time the Tories have polled in single figures in a YouGov survey this campaign, and will cause further alarm in the ranks of the party, which is being heavily punished for the government's failure to deliver Brexit.
Sixty-two percent of Tory voters in the 2017 general election said they would now vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections, while only one in five of that group said they would still back the Tories in the European elections.
The Conservatives, whose poll ratings have plummeted since Theresa May sought to extend Brexit until October, have barely campaigned for the European elections at all and have issued little direct challenge to Nigel Farage, and many of their MPs back his calls for a no-deal Brexit.
The news comes after Theresa May promised on Thursday to set a timetable for the election of a new leader, amid almost universal opposition to her leadership within Conservative ranks.
The prime minister agreed to set a timetable for the vote after she holds a Brexit vote in June following a meeting with senior Tory MPs who told her to resign.
She has already agreed to resign once she has implemented Brexit, but it is now understood that she will resign if she loses the vote too.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson confirmed on Thursday that he will run for leader once May leaves office.
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