Labour heading for a comfortable majority, says Ashcroft

Labour is heading for a “comfortable majority” at the UK general election as the Conservatives have lost a third of their support and are only attracting a small number of new voters, polling by former Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft has suggested.

His analysis found the Conservatives can afford to lose no more than 22 seats to Labour but are trailing in 24 seats at the moment.

The detailed polling of marginal seats indicated that both Tories and Labour may each take eight seats off the Liberal Democrats, while two Conservative seats could fall to Ukip.

The rest are a battle between the two main parties that Labour is on course to win, it found.

The statistics said just 63% of the people who voted Conservative in 2010 are still planning to vote for the party and half of those have gone to Ukip.

Ashcroft, deputy chairman of the Conservative party from 2005 until 2010, said all the “waffle” from Conservative party central office about Europe and building new homes for first time-buyers would not do any good, arguing that the only way the Tories could win was to throw all their efforts and money into good candidates in marginal seats.

His position was challenged by Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, who said the Conservatives had a “bumpy ride ahead” but he was sure the party would win based on greater confidence in the prime minister, David Cameron, to run the economy.

Powered by article was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for The Guardian on Sunday 28th September 2014 15.51 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010