General Election 2017: Labour deputy leader Tom Watson warns of "Thatcher-style" landslide for the Conservative party in upcoming vote

Francesca Washtell
Follow Francesca
Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson Addresses Party Conference
Tom Watson said there were some "terrifically exciting" ideas in the Labour manifesto (Source: Getty)

The deputy leader of the Labour party has warned the UK faces a "Margaret Thatcher-style" landslide for the Tories if the opposition fails to catch up in the polls ahead of the 8 June vote.

Tom Watson said Labour had a "mountain to climb" in the coming weeks in an interview with the Guardian, adding that the party is lagging behind in the polls with all income groups, including its traditional base of working-class voters.

However, Watson was optimistic. "It is going to be very, very difficult to turn the poll numbers around, but we are determined to do it," he said.

Read more: Despite recent bloopers, the polls have got it right on Corbyn

The Conservative party has been riding high in the polls, with some trackers putting the Tories at almost double the vote share of Labour. Voting intention figures published this week by YouGov shows Theresa May's Conservatives hold a large 16-point lead, with around 46 per cent of voters intending to back the incumbent party.

Labour experienced a slight lift, up two per cent, but is still very much behind, garnering 30 per cent of intended votes.

Culture, Media and Sport and Fox's bid for Sky

In the interview, Watson also said he wants to become the culture, media and sport secretary after the election.

He added that if he gained the role he would try to put a stopper in Fox's bid for Sky while the second part of the Leveson inquiry took place.

Earlier this week a draft copy of the Labour manifesto leaked, revealing a plan to renationalise railways, parts of the energy industry and Royal Mail, which was sold off in 2015. Leader Jeremy Corbyn said it had been unanimously approved just hours later.

Watson said there were some "terrifically exciting" ideas in the policy outline.

Read more: Labour’s manifesto policies would turn the UK into an economic basket case

However, the party's pledge to radically increase the role of the state has been blasted by some fiscal economists, who have said it would result in a level of government intervention not seen since the 1940s and would cause public spending to balloon by tens of billions of pounds a year.

“This is about the state getting deeply involved in much more of the private sector than it has been, certainly since the 1970s, and perhaps since the 1940s,” said Paul Johnson, head of the non-partisan Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Related articles