A bombshell new poll shows the Tories on course to snatch Hartlepool from Labour in Thursday’s crucial by-election contest, in what would be a historic win for the ruling party.
Survation’s poll for Good Morning Britain puts the Conservatives way out in front with a 17-point lead in the seat, which has been held by Labour since its creation in 1974.
North of the border, the Scottish National Party looks set to record a slim majority, according to a separate Opinium poll. It puts the party on 51 per cent, down two per cent on a survey conducted in April, but still with enough support to form a majority government.
Elsewhere, Alba leader Alex Salmond has claimed he could have “destroyed” SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon during their spectacular fall-out. “If I wanted to destroy her, that could have been done.”
Meanwhile, the EU has stolen a march on Britain over a trade deal with India. The EU-India pact could be forged as early as this weekend, while the UK government announced only an enhanced partnership with India.
Poll: London mayor Sadiq Khan on course to secure second term with big win
Labour’s Sadiq Khan is on course to secure a second term as London mayor.
An Opinium poll projects the incumbent will win 48 per cent of first-round votes.
When a candidate in London’s mayoral election gets 50 per cent of the vote they are elected.
The Conservative candidate, Shaun Bailey, is projected to win 29 per cent of first-round votes, according to the poll.
Mr Khan is expected to pass the 50 per cent threshold in the second round vote share.
Opinium says the race has remained largely stable since its first mayoral poll in March when Mr Khan and,Mr Bailey were on 53 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.
The Labour mayor’s final margin of victory could be 63 per cent to Mr Bailey’s 37 per cent.
Nicola Sturgeon’s chances of winning outright majority at Holyrood ‘too close to call’, pollster suggests
The SNP’s chances of winning an outright majority at Holyrood this week is “too close to call”, with “razor-thin margins” determining the outcome of the contest, pollsters have suggested.
Our politics correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:
Could an independent Scotland re-join the EU by 2031?
Nicola Sturgeon wants to take Scotland out of the UK and back into the EU.
If Ms Sturgeon gets her way and Scotland does become independent, is the path back into the bloc a simple one?
My colleague Adam Forrest speaks to constitutional experts to find out:
Labour calls on Boris Johnson to say if he asked donors to pay for childcare
Labour has stepped up calls for Boris Johnson to provide details of his financial support from Tory donors after Downing Street refused to say whether he had asked for help with childcare costs.
Our politics editor Andrew Woodcock has more details:
Lib Dems: Tory attacks on Electoral Commission are ‘deeply alarming’
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey says he is “deeply alarmed” by Conservative criticism of the Electoral Commission, accusing Tory critics of “damaging democracy”.
It comes after senior Tory MPs hit out at the timing of the commission’s announcement regarding its investigation around the refurbishment of the prime minister’s flat.
During a visit to Edinburgh, Mr Davey said: “I’m deeply alarmed that the Conservatives continue to attack the independent watchdog, the Electoral Commission when that independent watchdog is investigating the Conservative Party.
“Conservatives are damaging democracy at every stage. Whether it’s their sleaze or their attack on democratic institutions, I think that Boris Johnson is a dangerous Prime Minister.”
He continued: “You’d have thought the Prime Minister would have been focused single-mindedly on tackling the pandemic, it looks like he’s worrying about curtains and carpets.”
G7: France and UK discuss climate change, education, immigration and health
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian held a bilateral meeting in the margins of the G7 summit.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The Foreign Secretary and Minister Le Drian discussed the importance of co-operation ahead of Cop26, particularly on international climate finance.
“Both ministers discussed the need to ensure ambitious action to replenish the Global Partnership for Education.
“They also discussed the ongoing bilateral work to tackle illegal migration in the Channel and the need to work closely on the challenge it presents.
“Finally, both ministers agreed on the strength of the UK-French partnership and discussed how they could work together to address shared concerns including climate change, vaccines supply and global health.”
Starmer: I’ll take full responsibility for election results
Keir Starmer has said he’ll take “full responsibility” for Labour’s showing in Thursday’s local elections.
Polls show the Tories with a huge cushion in the crucial Hartlepool by-election. The party’s candidates for the Tees Valley and West Midlands mayoral elections also have big leads.
Mr Starmer told Radio 4: “I take full responsibility for the results, just as I take full responsibility for everything that happens in the Labour Party under my leadership.”
‘No plans’ to end lockdown restrictions earlier than 21 June, No10 says
The government has “no plans” to bring forward the earliest date for the end of lockdown from 21 June, despite “hugely encouraging” data on Covid transmission, Downing Street has said.
Our politics editor Andrew Woodcock reports:
Polling boss says he’ll never survey a constituency again if Labour wins Hartlepool
Damian Lyons Lowe, the boss of polling company Survation, has said he’ll never survey a constituency again if Labour wins the Hartlepool by-election.
His comments come off the back of his firm’s bombshell poll showing the Tories with a 17-point lead in what was once a Labour stronghold.
The survey was conducted between 23 and 29 April and had a small sample of just 517 people, but the size of the lead suggests Labour is in trouble.
Johnson appoints Tory MP Neil O’Brien as adviser on ‘levelling up’ agenda
Boris Johnson has appointed Tory MP Neil O’Brien as his adviser on his “levelling up” agenda, Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that the MP for Harborough would be working with Government departments on developing policies ahead of a “levelling up” white paper.
“His role is going to be to work alongside departments to develop the policies that sit within that – the bold policy interventions which are going to help improve opportunity and boost livelihoods across the country,” the spokesman said.
“We are making multibillion-pound investments to transform the country’s prosperity and spread opportunity already.
“We have the opportunity to go further and that is the work Neil O’Brien has taken up.”