Patrick O’Flynn Patrick O’Flynn

Rishi Sunak won’t regret giving up on liberal Conservatism

Rishi Sunak (Credit: Getty images)

It will not come as much of a shock to learn that people who voted Conservative in 2019 generally think their chosen party is fairly useless these days. A new poll this week from YouGov has broken this down issue by issue – the results make chastening reading for any Tory MP who thinks the party has done a decent job in government over the past four years.

The Tories have lost the approval of an outright majority of their 2019 voters on nearly every big political issue. Only 46 per cent of them now say the Conservatives are the best party on law and order, 44 per cent for the economy, 41 per cent for taxation, 37 per cent for handling asylum and immigration and 28 per cent for the NHS.

Sunak’s advisers have worked out that there is no political reward attached to trying to win approval from centrist opinion

At first glance this looks like yet more supporting evidence for the ‘game over’ brigade – the people who think the next election is in the bag for Keir Starmer. Yet I draw the opposite conclusion and I know there are Tory-leaning pollsters who share that view. This is because another striking feature about this opinion research is how few 2019 Tories have swung to Labour on these big issues.

On law and order just seven per cent now say Labour is best, on asylum and immigration eight per cent, on the economy nine per cent and on taxation 11 per cent. Only on the NHS has Labour been able to win approval from a significant chunk of 2019 Tories, with 22 per cent rating it best.

When one recalls all the disasters that have befallen the government in the past four years, this is a strikingly poor performance from Labour.

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