Sunak Asked If Party Faces 'Existential' Threat After Reform Overtake Tories In New Poll

YouGov put the Conservatives in third place, one point behind Reform, on 18% last night.
Rishi Sunak told reporters he was "still fighting" for the election, despite Reform's narrow lead over the Conservatives.
Rishi Sunak told reporters he was "still fighting" for the election, despite Reform's narrow lead over the Conservatives.
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak denied that his party is facing an “existential” threat after Reform overtook the Conservatives in the polls last night.

In yet another blow to the beleaguered prime minister, Nigel Farage’s populist party has swept into second place, according to a YouGov survey.

But speaking from the G7 summit in Italy, Sunak downplayed concerns, and said voting for Reform would be “handing Labour a blank cheque”.

He said: “We are only halfway through this election, so I’m still fighting very hard for every vote.

“And what that poll shows is – the only poll that matters is the one on July 4 – but if that poll was replicated on July 4, it would be handing Labour a blank cheque to tax everyone, tax their home, their pension, their car, their family, and I’ll be fighting very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

He added: “When I’ve been out and about talking to people, they do understand that a vote for anyone who is not a Conservative candidate is just a vote to put Keir Starmer in Number 10.”

Asked if the Conservatives face an “existential” threat over their future, Sunak dodged the question and said the publication of the Labour and Tory manifestos shows “there’s a massive difference on tax”.

Keir Starmer’s Labour is still leaps and bounds ahead of every other party in the polls, on 37%.

YouGov’s latest survey has encouraged Farage to say his party is now the main opposition to Labour.

The Reform leader – who is making his eighth run at being elected to parliament, having been unsuccessful every other time – even taunted Sunak with a social media clip this morning.

Filmed from a car, Farage played Eminem’s 2002 song Without Me, and sang along to the lyrics: “Guess who’s back, back again.”

The caption read: “Good morning @RishiSunak.”

Reform have been slowing gaining on the Tories in the polls ever since Farage announced he was taking over as party leader less than two weeks ago but this is the first time they have climbed ahead.

However, YouGov emphasised that although Reform, now on 19%, is one point ahead of the Tories, on 18%, that is still within the margin of error.

Latest YouGov voting intention (12-13 Jun): Reform now 1pt ahead of the Tories for the first time, although this is still within the margin of error

Con: 18% (no change from 10-11 Jun)
Lab: 37% (-1)
Reform UK: 19% (+2)
Lib Dem: 14% (-1)
Green: 7% (-1)
SNP: 3% (+1)…

— YouGov (@YouGov) June 13, 2024

The economic secretary to the Treasury, Bim Afolami, also toed the party line while speaking to the media this morning.

He told Times Radio: “No, we haven’t accepted we’re going to lose this election. Of course not.

“We’re fighting for every vote.”

Denying concerns over Reform’s one-point lead, he continued: “Polls are polls. I mean, there’s pretty much a poll every single day in this campaign. There’ll be more. It’s one poll out of literally hundreds.

“But look, what it does show is that there is significant difficulty of Keir Starmer having unchecked power to do all the things, like tax your home, your job, your car and your pension, as I was saying, if people vote Reform.

“A vote for Reform is a vote for Keir Starmer.”


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