Rishi Sunak defiant despite Reform UK overtaking Tories in poll as he insists he's 'fighting for every vote'

14 June 2024, 09:28

Rishi Sunak has said he is still fighting for every vote, despite a poll showing his party is behind Reform UK
Rishi Sunak has said he is still fighting for every vote, despite a poll showing his party is behind Reform UK. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Rishi Sunak has brushed off a shock poll suggesting Reform UK could be more popular than the Conservatives as he insisted he was still fighting for every vote.

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The Prime Minister said that the General Election itself is "the only poll that matters", despite YouGov showing Nigel Farage's party were up two points, at 19%, and one point above the Conservatives.

According to the same poll, Labour are 19 points ahead at 37%. The Liberal Democrats were down one point at 14%. Speaking from the G7 summit, Mr Sunak 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.

Read more: Fresh blow for Rishi Sunak as Reform UK overtake Conservative Party in shock new poll

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Sunak at the G7 summit in Italy, with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
Sunak at the G7 summit in Italy, with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Picture: Alamy

"And actually, 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 No 10."

The YouGov poll should be treated with caution, and various other surveys do not give the same results.

Treasury minister Bim Afolami asked LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "Does anybody really believe [the poll]? One poll? You're only going off one poll?

Watch Again: Nick Ferrari speaks to Economic Secretary to the Treasury | 14/06

"Things go up and down in polls, I'm sure you remember when Change UK were polling at 14%, what happened to them? These things happen, polls occasionally show things, it's a volatile period of time, it's an election campaign."

But he added: "It does show the danger, there are only two people who can be Prime Minister at the end of this - either Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer. A vote for Reform is a vote for more unchecked power for Keir Starmer, it's as simple as that."

ITV Hosts Live General Election Multi-party Debate Live
Farage reminded Conservative's Penny Mordaunt that Reform UK are now ahead of them. Picture: Getty

Reform have welcomed the poll as a sign of their ascendancy on the right-wing of British politics. Mr Farage told LBC on Thursday that he would be willing to lead a party that united the centre-right.

Following the poll annoucement, Reform UK reacted to the news on social media.

In a Twitter post, they described themselves as the "official opposition".

And taking part in a seven-way debate on Thursday night, the Reform leader said in his introduction: "I am Nigel Farage, leader of Reform UK.

"Just before we came on air we overtook the Conservatives in the national opinion polls. We are now the opposition to Labour."

Mr Sunak has struggled with a series of gaffes in a difficult campaign right from the moment he called the shock election in the pouring rain.

Early last week, he sparked outrage after deciding to to leave D-Day commemorations in Normandy.

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Mr Farage warned Nick Ferrari "something new is going to emerge on the centre right."

"I don't know what it's called, but do I think I could end up leading a national opposition to a Labour party with a big majority, where I can stand up and hold them to account on issues? Yes," confirmed Mr Farage.

It follows comments from Mr Farage explaining that the reasons he had been targeted twice while on the campaign trail for Reform UK was because he challenges the political consensus and has his feet on the ground.

Asked by Nick whether he'd "be happy to lead a merged party," Farage responded adamantly, "yes".

Read more: Reform candidate rants that ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ in unearthed footage

Read more: 'I'm not going to surrender to the mob': Farage blames ‘angry left’ and social media after milkshake attacks

Watch Again: Nick Ferrari is joined by Nigel Farage | 13/06/24

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