2024 general election: New poll predicts Conservative wipeout, and SNP to lose half their seats

A YouGov poll suggests Sir Keir Starmer could win the 2024 general election with a majority of 120 seats

Rishi Sunak has played down polling suggesting the Tories could be on course for a 1997-style wipe-out at the next general election, as a former Cabinet minister claimed the biggest problem facing the Conservative Party was “complacency”.

A YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph showed the Conservatives would retain just 169 seats in this year’s general election, with Labour on 385.

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It prompted Lord Frost, who served as Mr Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator and has submitted his bid to become a MP at the coming election, to describe the poll results as “stunningly awful”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Image: Andrii Nesterenko/Getty Images.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Image: Andrii Nesterenko/Getty Images.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Image: Andrii Nesterenko/Getty Images.

"This poll shows we are going to lose, and lose bad, unless we do something about it,” Lord Frost wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

The poll indicates Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer would achieve a majority of 120 seats and involve a Conservative defeat on the scale of the 1997 whitewash when Sir Tony Blair came to power.

The survey also predicts the SNP will lose almost half of its seats, retaining only 25 of its 43 MPs – but would narrowly remain the biggest party in Scotland.

And the survey results indicated every so-called “red wall” seat won by former prime minister Boris Johnson in 2019 could be lost at the general election.

YouGov interviewed 14,110 adults across the country between December 12 last year and January 4.

Speaking in Essex, Mr Sunak insisted the only poll that matters “is the one when the general election comes”.

“There have been lots of polls over the last year, there will be hundreds more polls,” he said.

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“The choice at that election is clear. It’s stick with our plan that is working, it’s delivering change for people, ensuring they can have the peace of mind that there is a brighter future for their children and we can have renewed pride in our country.”

In a sign certain factions within the Tory party are again positioning for a potential leadership challenge before the election, Lord Frost said of voters that “at the moment, we are giving them nothing”.

The research, using the multi-level regression and post-stratification (MRP) method, was commissioned by a group of Tory donors working with Lord Frost. The MRP technique is a way of producing estimates of opinion and attitudes for small, defined geographic areas such as parliamentary constituencies.

Lord Frost said: “These MRP polls have huge samples and give us detailed constituency-level data. They don’t rely on the same sort of back-of-an-envelope extrapolations to get seat results from the headline number. They have a track record of accuracy."

He added: “One has to have some sympathy with the Prime Minister. He didn’t choose his inheritance and he has an unruly party to manage. That’s not his fault, but it is his problem. Whatever the strategy is – and it is often hard to discern one – it isn’t working … there is only one way to rescue the position and bring back those 2019 voters who have left us.

"It is to be as tough as it takes on immigration, reverse the debilitating increases in tax, end the renewables tax on energy costs – and much more.”

However, defence secretary Grant Shapps, who the research suggests would be ousted from his Welwyn Hatfield seat, said voters could not write off the Conservatives just yet, claiming the party could still turns around its fortunes.

Mr Shapps is one of 11 Cabinet ministers, alongside Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, predicted to lose their seats, according to this poll.

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Speaking to Times Radio, the defence secretary said: “The world has been through unprecedented times with things like Covid and this war in Europe costing a lot of money. But, actually, we do have a plan and that plan is starting to work – inflation being slashed, the number of small boats down by over a third, 36 per cent in fact.

“So, we have a plan which we are working to.” He added: “I think the long and the short of it is we are not in an election, people aren’t being asked in the context of an actual election.

“As is often said, the actual poll on polling day is the only one that really matters.”

When asked if his party could turn the opinion polls round, Mr Shapps said: “Absolutely – look, the reason I think we can turn it around is because at least people know we have got a plan and we are working to it. There isn’t a plan under Labour.”

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt is also predicted to lose her seat, despite enjoying a 15,000 majority. This would be the biggest collapse in support for a governing party since 1906, with a swing of 11.5 per cent to Labour.

The poll also suggests the right-wing party Reform UK will have a massive influence. They won’t win any seats, the survey indicates, but will be a decisive factor in 96 Conservative losses, which will be the difference between a Labour majority and a hung parliament.

In 1997 Sir John Major lost 178 seats and Sir Tony won 418, giving him a majority of 178 and 13 years of Labour government.

A majority of 120 for Sir Keir Starmer would be larger than any in the past 20 years and is comparable to the win secured by Margaret Thatcher in 1983 and 1987.

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The Lib Dems are also predicted to win 48 seats, recovering their pre-2015 size.

Sir Simon Clarke, who was a Cabinet minister under Liz Truss, said the result suggested by the poll would be a “disaster”.

“The time for half measures is over,” he said. “We either deliver on small boats or we will be destroyed.”

The deep divisions within the Tory ranks will be exposed this week as the Safety of Rwanda Bill makes its way through the Commons, with Mr Sunak under pressure from the Tory right to make the legislation tougher.

But any significant changes are likely to be resisted by Conservative centrists, who are uneasy about the prospect of sidelining international conventions and human rights provisions.

So who would win what in Scotland?


  • Inverness, Skye and Wester Ross
  • Moray West, Nairn and Strathspey
  • West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine
  • Aberdeen North
  • Aberdeen South
  • Angus and Perthshire Glens
  • Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber
  • Arbroath and Broughty Ferry
  • Dundee Central
  • Perth and Kinross-shire
  • Stirling and Strathallan
  • Alloa and Grangemouth
  • Falkirk
  • Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch
  • Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West
  • Paisley and Renfrewshire South
  • North Ayrshire and Arran
  • East Renfrewhire
  • Kilmarnock and Loudon
  • Central Ayrshire
  • Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • Edinburgh South West
  • Edinburgh North and Leith
  • Livingston


  • Na h-Eileanan Siar
  • Glenrothes and Mid Fife
  • Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy
  • Dunfermline and Dollar
  • Bathgate and Linlithgow
  • Lothian East
  • Midlothian
  • Edinburgh East and Musselburgh
  • Edinburgh South
  • Airdrie and Shotts
  • Coatbridge and Bellshill
  • Glasgow North East
  • Glasgow West
  • Glasgow North
  • Glasgow South
  • Glasgow South West
  • Glasgow East
  • Mid Dunbartonshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • Paisley and Renfrewshire North
  • Rutherglen
  • East Kilbride and Strathaven
  • Hamilton and Clyde Valley
  • Motherwell, Wishaw and Carluke


  • Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
  • Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
  • Gordon and Buchan
  • Aberdeenshire North and Moray East

Liberal Democrats

  • Orkney and Shetland
  • Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
  • North East Fife
  • Edinburgh West



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