U.K. Political Polls Mixed Ahead of Week of Elections

Polls in the U.K. produced mixed results ahead of a slate of elections that will test support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a series of rows from lobbying to what the opposition has dubbed “sleaze” threaten to engulf his government.

A survey conducted for the Observer newspaper indicated that the ruling Conservative Party’s lead over the opposition Labour Party has more than halved to 5% in the past week. A separate poll for the Telegraph ahead of local elections predicted that the Conservatives will gain more than twice as many councils as Labour.

In addition to local elections in England, there will also be a parliamentary by-election in the pro-Brexit seat of Hartlepool, held by Labour since the constituency was formed in 1974.

The votes will provide an indication as to whether Johnson’s popularity has been damaged by questions over his conduct in office. The prime minister is facing an official investigation into whether he or his party broke election law by failing to declare the funding of works to refurbish his government residence.

The government will be hoping the speed of the country’s vaccine roll-out will overshadow that. The U.K. is currently lifting coronavirus restrictions, with the share of its population inoculated more than twice that of the European Union.

Scotland also has parliamentary elections this week, which could prove a litmus test for the nation’s appetite for breaking away from the U.K. Johnson’s government fears a landslide win for the pro-independence Scottish National Party spurred by Brexit, which the Scots voted against. The Conservatives are planning to spend billions of pounds on new rail and road links for Scotland, the Telegraph reported.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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