Tory lead cut to just 5 points in new YouGov poll

Tories just 5 points ahead of Labour as Lib Dems drop 4 points to 24 per cent.

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Latest poll (YouGov/Sun): Labour 49 seats short of a majority.

The latest daily YouGov poll has just been published, and it's not good news for the Lib Dems. The poll puts Nick Clegg's party down 4 points to 24 per cent, its lowest figure in a YouGov poll since the first leaders' debate. Now, this could be a sign that the Lib Dem bubble has burst or, like the Ipsos MORI poll that put them on 23 per cent, it could just be an outlier.

We'll get a better idea when the latest ComRes/Independent poll is released later tonight, although, since their fieldwork is a day behind YouGov's, any decline in Lib Dem support may not be picked up.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives' lead over Labour has been cut to just 5 points. The poll has the Tories unchanged on 35 per cent, with Labour up 2 to 30 per cent. If repeated at the election on a uniform swing, those figures would leave Labour as the single largest party in parliament, 49 seats short of a majority.

New Statesman Poll of Polls

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Hung parliament: Conservatives 53 seats short.

UPDATE: The latest ComRes poll has just been published and there's not much to report there. The Tories are unchanged on 37 per cent, Labour is unchanged on 29 per cent and the Lib Dems are, you guessed it, unchanged on 26 per cent.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.