Tories heading for worst-ever defeat while Labour on track for 256 majority, poll finds

The Labour Party is on course for a 256-seat majority at the general election while the Tories are heading for their worst-ever defeat, according to a new poll.

In its first MRP model of the 2024 campaign, Ipsos estimated Sir Keir Starmer's party could win 453 seats and the Conservatives 115.

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If correct, that would hand Labour a historic majority of 256, the biggest of any post-war government, while plunging the number of Tory MPs to record lows.

It would also mean senior Conservative figures such as Grant Shapps, Penny Mordaunt, Gillian Keegan, Johnny Mercer and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg losing their seats.

While Labour have consistently enjoyed a 20-point lead in the polls, the Ipsos survey is the highest projection yet of what their majority could look like.

The poll also predicts the Lib Dems could win 38 seats, the Scottish National Party 15, three for the Green Party and three for Reform UK.

According to the projection, Nigel Farage is on track to overturn a huge Tory majority to win in Clacton while former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, standing as an independent, is predicted to lose to his old party in Islington North.

The poll is likely to cement fears within the Conservative party of an extinction-level event.

Despite promises of further tax cuts in his manifesto, Rishi Sunak has failed to shift the dial in a campaign marred by political gaffes - notably his early exit from a D-day event.

Repeated forecasts of a Labour landslide have prompted gloom from some Tories, with the prime minister forced to insist on Monday that his party could still win the election after Mr Shapps, the Defence Secretary, conceded that defeat was likely.

In recent days, senior figures have taken to warning voters about the risk of a Labour "supermajority" in a bid to convince undecided voters to stick with them.

More than 100 seats on a knife edge

The Ipsos projection predicts a huge majority for Labour even when factoring in more than 100 seats which are "too close to call".

The model finds 117 seats are on a knife edge as they have a winning margin of less than five percentage points.

This underlines the extent to which the number of undecided voters could change the outcome for the Tories.

Kelly Beaver, chief executive of Ipsos UK and Ireland said: "Labour is increasing its 2019 vote share across the country, especially in Scotland and the North East, while the Conservatives are losing votes in all regions - especially in the East and South of England, and across the Midlands.

"What is perhaps most concerning for them are signs in the data that they are particularly losing vote share in the areas where they were strongest in 2019."

The poll used the multilevel with poststratification (MRP) technique to model individual constituency results based on a survey of 19,689 British adults and took place between 7-12 June.

It is the second poll released this week to use the technique, following a Survation poll on Monday that estimated a similarly massive Labour majority.

The Ipsos poll is the first MRP survey to be conducted entirely after Mr Farage announced he would be taking over as leader of Reform UK and making his eighth attempt to become an MP, this time in Clacton, Essex.

Political scene 'heading for significant shift'

The poll suggests Mr Farage is on course to win that seat, with his Reform UK party also picking up Lee Anderson's Ashfield constituency and possibly one other seat with 12% of the national vote.

That puts the party level in terms of seats with the Greens, who Ipsos suggests could win in Bristol Central, North Herefordshire and Waveney Valley while losing their current seat in Brighton Pavilion to Labour.

The poll also sees the Liberal Democrats making gains in the South East and South West, increasing its number of seats to 38 and regaining its position as the third party in the Commons.

Meanwhile, Ipsos said the fate of the SNP was "still very much up in the air", with the party running a close second to Labour in Scotland and expected to win around 15 seats, a significant reduction from the 48 seats it won in 2019.

Ms Beaver said the poll was "just a snapshot of people's current voting intentions" and there was "still time for things to change".

She added: "But this data, in line with most of the evidence that we have seen both in the run-up to this election and since the campaign started, in terms of the mood of the nation and real election results in local elections and by-elections, suggests that the British political scene could be heading for yet another significant shift."