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Tories set to emerge as the biggest party, says our panel

THE TORIES will emerge as the biggest party after the next election, according to our panel of City workers.

The City A.M./PHI Panel, which has been specially recruited with PoliticsHome.com to represent a cross-section of London’s financial and business community, was asked what the most likely outcome of the general election was.

Half of the panellists thought the Tories were on course to win an outright majority on polling day, while just over one per cent thought Labour would do so.

But a significant proportion (47 per cent) thought there would be a hung parliament after the election. Such an outcome would spook markets, because it could delay much-needed fiscal tightening to reduce the deficit.

The vast majority of panellists (42 per cent) thought the Conservatives would be the biggest party in a hung parliament, while five per cent thought Labour would emerge with the most seats.

Although the results of the survey – which was carried out on the second day of the election campaign – will make terrible reading for Labour, the Tories will surely be worried by the prospect of having to form a minority government or a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Meanwhile, today’s YouGov poll for the Sun sees the Tory lead over Labour fall to five points, with the Tories on 37, Labour on 32 and the Lib Dems two points up at 19.

The Times’ Populus poll has the‚ÄąTories seven points clear on 39, against Labour’s 32.

•PoliticsHome.com interviewed 428 panellists by email yesterday. Apply to join the panel at ww.cityam.com/panel

A SELECTION OF PANELLIST COMMENTS
• “There will definitely be more people voting Tory than Labour but that still doesn’t ensure an outright majority. However, with a good campaign I think the Tories will get past the finishing line.”

• “I believe that there is still a large faction of Labour Party supporters, enough to result in a hung parliament after voting. The worst case would be a Lib-Lab coalition.”

• “The Blair effect will unwind and the swing in marginals is greater than that implied by national polls.”