Sunak’s Tories on Course to Lose Two in Three UK Seats

(Bloomberg) -- Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives are on track to lose more than two thirds of the seats they won at the last general election when Britons cast their votes next month, according to the latest seat-by-seat analysis pointing to an electoral wipe-out for the prime minister’s party.

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The Tories are set to win 115 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, down from 365 in 2019, Ipsos said Tuesday in a statement. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is on course for a landslide win with 453 seats, a 73% increase, according to the polling company’s analysis of an online survey of nearly 20,000 people.

But Ipsos also said 117 of the seats are “too close to call,” with the Tories second in 50 of them and Labour in 43. “Small changes to the parties’ performance could still make significant changes to the number of seats they get,” said Kelly Beaver, chief executive officer of Ipsos UK and Ireland.

It’s the latest in a series of bleak so-called Multilevel Regression and Post-stratification polls for the Conservatives that show Labour heading for a huge majority July 4 vote. Ipsos put that majority on 256 — a record for Labour that would eclipse Tony Blair’s win in 1997 and more than three times that secured by former Tory premier Boris Johnson last time.

Mel Stride, one of Sunak’s closest cabinet allies, told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday that voters need to think carefully about their choice, because a landslide on the magnitude projected by Ipsos and others would be “tantamount to having a one-party socialist state here.”

“What is going to matter is having an effective opposition,” Stride said in remarks that appear to concede defeat. “Part of my message to the UK electorate is to really think about what kind of Parliament you want. If you’re sitting there thinking we’re definitely going to have a Labour government — and many people are — then think about having Conservatives in there.”

A swathe of Sunak’s cabinet, including Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt could lose their seats, Ipsos said. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt also faces a “tight race,” according to the pollster.

Ipsos also projected the Liberal Democrats will reclaim their historical position as the UK’s third party, on 38 seats, almost a decade after their own electoral wipe-out following five years in a coalition government with the Tories. The current third-biggest grouping, the Scottish National Party, is projected to shed more than two thirds of the 48 seats it won in 2019, taking 15 this time.

Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party is set to win three seats, the same as the Green Party and one fewer than the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party.

--With assistance from Anna Edwards.

(Updates with comments from Stride starting in fifth paragraph.)

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