Labour has maintained its lead over the Conservatives in a new opinion poll amid fears that the economy could return to recession. The latest daily YouGov poll for the Sun puts Ed Miliband's party on 42 per cent, with the Tories down two points to 37 per cent and the Liberal Democrats up two to 11 per cent -- their highest rating since early December.
If repeated at a general election on a uniform swing, the latest figures would give Labour a majority of 60 seats. Meanwhile, new concerns have been raised over the coalition's economic policy after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the economy contracted by 0.5 per cent in the final quarter of 2010. In response to the figures, George Osborne said: "These are obviously disappointing numbers, but the ONS has made it very clear that the fall in GDP was driven by the terrible weather in December.
"We have had the coldest weather since records began in 1910 and this has clearly had a much bigger impact on the economy than anyone forecast. It's notable that sectors of the economy that are less affected by the poor weather, such as manufacturing, continue to perform strongly, helping to rebalance our economy."
The ONS said that growth would have been flat at 0 per cent without the snow.