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Labour heading for five per cent lead over Tories after series of Government blunders, internal polling reveals

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Labour will be consistently five per cent above the Conservatives by August next year amid growing public disillusionment over the party’s competence in Government, according to its internal polling.

The Daily Telegraph understands that the data shows trust and competence ratings for the Conservatives are falling. These are early indicators of polling trends, from which researchers have drawn the five per cent projection.

It has also factored in the anticipated damaging economic headlines later this year when party sources said there were fears of employment hitting three to four million.

The figures come amid growing concerns among Tory backbenchers that the Conservatives’ reputation for competent Government has been undermined by a series of fiascos during the coronavirus pandemic culminating in Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s  u-turn over A-level grading.

A former Government adviser said Boris Johnson should have accepted Mr Williamson’s resignation had it been offered” but said there was a “plausible explanation” for why he had not gone, suggesting it’s because of the increasingly centralised running of government departments through the Cabinet Office.

“If you’re not really responsible for things it’s difficult to be held to account. As a brilliant operator [Williamson] will have kept texts, logged phone calls and so on. He could publish that information to make life difficult for Number 10.”

He added: “We know Boris can’t make decision, he can’t do the detail. Dominic Cummings, [the Prime Minister’s chief adviser] can do the detail but he can’t do everything – he doesn’t have the bandwidth – especially when the country is going through such a crisis.”

Another former adviser suggested Mr Williamson could be moved sideways in a reshuffle, potentially to Commons leader but believed Penny Mourdant would be sacked as Paymaster General 

“Penny is gone – all she has done is break collective responsibility on a consistent basis. They think she briefs her critical tweets out because the media picks up on them so quickly. She also “had a pop at Dom” and “she puts things on twitter as if she is a backbencher.”

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