Conservative lead rises to eight points

Latest figures would leave the Tories 17 seats short of a majority.

The Conservatives' lead over Labour has widened, according to two new opinion polls conducted in the wake of last week's Budget.

A new ICM survey for the News of the World put the Conservatives up one point to 39 per cent, with Labour down one to 31 per cent and the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 19 per cent.

But while the Tories have extended their lead, the latest figures suggest they can still not be sure of winning an overall majority. If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, the ICM figures would leave the Conservatives 17 seats short of a majority in a hung parliament.

Meanwhile, the latest daily YouGov survey for the Sun had the Conservatives unchanged on 37 per cent, with Labour down one to 32 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up one to 19 per cent. If repeated at the election, the result would leave Gordon Brown 33 seats short of a majority.