Conservatives ‘are facing defeat in by-election’

The Conservatives are set for defeat in an upcoming by-election, a party grandee has admitted.

Lord Ashcroft, a former deputy chairman of the party, said the Tories would “almost certainly” lose the Corby seat and could face the same result in similar contests with Labour at a general election.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Polling commissioned by the peer gave Labour a 15-point lead to take the marginal seat, with Ed Miliband’s party on 52 per cent, the Tories on 37 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 7 per cent.

The survey of 1,500 voters in the constituency showed Labour was set for a “comfortable” win on a swing which, if repeated nationally, would see Mr Miliband take the keys to No 10 Downing Street at the next general election, Lord Ashcroft said.

Corby’s Tory MP Louise Mensch has announced she intends to quit the Commons and move to the US with her family.