IT might have been the Easter weekend but that hasn't prevented the publication of two important opinion polls, both of which concur in painting a truly dire picture for the Tories .

The first poll – a seat-by-seat multilevel-regression poll of 15,000 people carried out by Survation for the anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaign group – was published by the Sunday Times and found that in a General Election, the Conservatives face their worst result ever, being reduced to just 98 seats, and would become an England-only party, losing all their MPs in Scotland and Wales. Labour would win a crushing Commons majority with 468 seats.

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The poll shows that a slew of Cabinet ministers are set to lose their seats, with even Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (above) at risk of losing his Richmond and Northallerton constituency to Labour and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's seat likely to fall to the LibDems. If this came to pass, it would be an utter and well-deserved humiliation for an increasingly manic and deranged Conservative party.

The last time a sitting prime minister lost his seat in a General Election was in 1906, when Conservative prime minister Arthur Balfour lost his Manchester East constituency to the Liberals in a historic defeat which saw the Tories reduced to just 156 seats, a loss of 246. This was the worst result for the Conservatives in the modern democratic era. Even so, this weekend's opinion polls point to an even greater drubbing for a party which has grown corrupt and unhinged.

Cabinet ministers James Cleverly and Grant Shapps are also set to lose their seats, as is Penny Mordaunt (below), widely tipped in recent weeks as a potential replacement to Rishi Sunak by increasingly panicky Tory MPs.

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To heap woe upon misery for the Tories – which is fair enough because that's what they have been doing to the rest of us for 14 years – Sunday's disastrous poll was quickly followed by another poll which painted an even worse picture for Tory prospects.

This second poll, carried out by Electoral Calculus and published by the Daily Mail, would see the Conservatives reduced to just 80 seats with Labour winning a massive landslide of 470. This poll also sees the Tories wiped out in Scotland and Wales and would reduce the Tories to a rump that could take them decades to recover from.

Both polls suggest that the Tories are set for a historic defeat. If they are able to do a deal with the right-wing anti-immigration Reform party, they would still go down to a historic defeat, but might be able to rescue a couple of dozen seats. These findings will increase the already considerable pressure on Sunak to pivot even further to the right and to seek an accommodation with Nigel Farage.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during the Labour Party local elections campaign launch at the Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology in Dudley. Picture date: Thursday March 28, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit

The findings of these polls also confirm that Keir Starmer (above) does not need to win in Scotland in order to oust the Tories. These polls predict that Labour are on course for a majority exceeding 200 and would do so even if every seat in Scotland was taken by the SNP. As always, British general elections are won and lost in England – the result in Scotland can only make a difference when the outcome in England is finely balanced.

The real reason that Starmer seeks to defeat the SNP in Scotland is in order to remove Scottish independence from the political agenda, removing a political thorn in his flesh, and to give him the political elbow room to sideline the Scottish Parliament and squeeze Scotland's freedom of movement even further.

For the SNP, these polls bring some relief – not only do they both forecast the complete wipeout of Conservative MPs in Scotland, they also both suggest that the SNP will remain the largest party in Scotland in terms of vote share and number of MPs returned to Westminster.


SCOTLAND’S new Hate Crime Act comes into force today, and as has become traditional with any new piece of legislation introduced by the SNP-led Scottish Government, the introduction of the law is accompanied by dire and hysterical predictions that it is going to cause the total collapse of democracy / freedom of speech / the housing market / the drinks industry / the economy, delete as appropriate.

Every single time the Scottish Government introduces new legislation, it is greeted with overblown claims that its effect will be catastrophic. This has happened with measures to cap rent increases, the gender recognition reform bill and the deposit return scheme. All this proves is that rational and informed political debate is no longer possible in a Scotland whose media landscape is wildly unrepresentative of the population as a whole.

Extremist-enabling manchild Elon Musk (below) and podcaster Joe Rogan have both criticised the bill, claiming that it will target artists and comedians and is an attack on freedom of speech. These are the same people who say nothing when far-right US Republicans literally burn books and criminalise drag performances – which would make Christmas pantos illegal.

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The Hate Crime Act has attracted the ire of opponents of measures to extend and protect the rights of the trans community, a debate mired in toxicity and mutual dislike. These critics point to the fact that sex is not a protected characteristic in the act, but gender identity is, as evidence that the act will be used to prosecute “gender-critical” activists while leaving women open to sex-based hate crimes. 

However, these claims are overblown. The Scottish Government plans to introduce separate legislation specifically to tackle misogyny. Additionally, the new act which comes into force today categorically does not make it a hate crime to assert that there are only two sexes or to argue that sex is an immutable characteristic which cannot be changed.

The act in fact sets a high bar for what is considered a hate crime and contains explicit measures to protect freedom of speech. It has been defended by no less a figure than former Tory MSP and law professor Adam Tomkins, not a noted defender of SNP legislation.