Tories have just 1% chance of winning next election, says polling guru John Curtice

Rishi Sunak has suffered another blow after the country’s top polling guru put the Conservatives’ chances of winning the next general election at just 1 per cent.

Sir John Curtice said the Tories had little hope of being able to turn around dire poll results.

He also warned Labour would be in a much stronger position, if it came to it, to negotiate a minority government, saying that “apart from possibly the DUP, the Conservatives have no friends in the House of Commons”.

The leading psephologist’s warning to Politico will pile yet more pressure on beleaguered Conservatives following the resignation of two cabinet ministers who are stepping down at the next election.

Robert Halfon unexpectedly quit as skills, apprenticeships and higher education minister, while James Heappey followed through on his stated intention to step down as armed forces minister ahead of exiting parliament at the general election.

His departure means 63 Conservative MPs have said publicly they are either standing down from parliament or not contesting their current seat at the general election.

Sir John Curtice is Britain’s leading pollster (PA)
Sir John Curtice is Britain’s leading pollster (PA)

The resignations follow a series of appalling opinion poll ratings for the Conservatives, most recently culminating in the Telegraph-Savanta poll tracker which put the Tories at their lowest rating since the aftermath of Liz Truss’ disastorous mini-budget which forced her from office, on 24 per cent.

Labour are consistently holding a 20 point-lead, adding to the speculation that the party will storm to victory and form the next government.

As the House of Commons goes into recess, Rishi Sunak is gearing up for his biggest challenge yet as the local council elections loom on 2 May.

His party are set to face mass losses as the country kicks back against depleted local council funding, the cost of living and discontent with the ruling party.

Mr Sunak launched his local election campaign earlier in the week, attacking Labour leader Keir Starmer for “arrogantly” taking voters for granted and “assuming he can just stroll into No 10”.

But a recent poll by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher have said Conservative losses are “inevitable” and if the party repeat their “poor performance of 2023, when the NEV (national equivalent vote share) put them below 30 per cent, they stand to lose up to 500 seats – half their councillors facing election”.

The NEV adjusts the votes cast in a particular set of elections to take account of the pattern of contests in that year, providing a snapshot of country-wide voting preferences. It is used by some pollsters to gauge national political opinion between general elections.

Mr Sunak has urged unity amongst his colleagues in the face of the poor surveys and Tory infighting.

Some backbench MPs have privately warned that a dire performance during the locals could force another a leadership election - or push the prime minister toward calling an early general election.