The Conservative Party is facing the biggest by-election defeat in British history in Nadine Dorries’ Mid Bedfordshire seat, pollsters at Opinium have warned.
Labour is set to overturn the former culture secretary’s 24,664 majority in the ‘safe’ seat, which has voted blue since 1931.
Adam Drumming, from Opinium, said: “The Conservatives are holding onto just under half of their 2019 vote and losing big chunks to a mix of Labour, Lib Dems, Reform and the local independent while Labour gains some from the Tories and Lib Dems to just put them ahead.”
It comes as yet another by-election could be announced in the coming days, with a report on the behaviour of former Tory and now independent MP Chris Pincher, who allegedly groped two men while drunk.
The finding echoes national polls which have indicated a Labour lead of over 20 points, in the context of a worsening economic climate, sustained inflation and a cost of living crisis.
Despite Dorries still being yet to formally resign as an MP, the Opinium poll was commissioned by Labour amid preparations for upcoming by-elections in Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and in ally Nigel Adams’ Selby and Ainsty seat on 20 July.
It put Tory candidate Festus Akinbusoye on 24 per cent, Bank of England climate expert Alistair Strathern, standing for Labour, on 28 per cent and the Lib Dems on 15 per cent. Independent councillor Gareth Mackey was on 19 per cent, while David Holland, for Reform UK, achieved just 10 per cent in Opinium’s poll.
Labour MP and shadow Northern Ireland secretary Peter Kyle, who is running Labour’s Mid Beds campaign, said the election was “a massive, unprecedented and historic opportunity”.
‘Fleeing the Tories’
He told the Telegraph: “The community here is fleeing the Tories but they haven’t fully chosen their destination yet.”
“It is unprecedented, in my experience, to stand on a doorstep and have every resident tell you what’s wrong with the party you’re trying to beat,” he added.
Party figures had expected the Tories to hold the seat, which Dorries had represented since 2005. She has pledged to be “gone long before the next election” despite being yet to resign.
Central Bedfordshire council saw the Tory group lose its majority earlier this year, with the independent group now making up the largest portion of the local authority.