Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

New poll blow for embattled Cameron

Support for David Cameron's Conservatives slumped dramatically in the past month, polls suggests
Support for David Cameron's Conservatives slumped dramatically in the past month, polls suggests

David Cameron has been hit by fresh poll woes as he tried to draw a line under a slew of recent difficulties for the Government.

In a sign of the challenge facing the Prime Minister as he attempts to fight back against his critics, an ICM survey for The Guardian found support for the Tories had slumped dramatically in the past month.

Labour's poll rating has risen to 41% - its highest score by that pollster since 2003 - while support for the Tories has fallen by six points to 33%. Mr Cameron's three-point lead a month ago has been replaced by an eight-point lead for Labour leader Ed Miliband.

A YouGov poll for The Sun put Labour on 45%, 13 points ahead of Tories on 32%.

On Monday, David Cameron sought to blame the Government's recent difficulties on communication problems. Amid continued criticism of the coalition's performance, the Prime Minister insisted it was taking the right actions but was "sometimes" failing to get its message across.

But a committee of MPs put government blunders down to a failure of strategic thinking by ministers. In a scathing report, the Commons Public Administration Committee said the lack of a proper national strategy lay behind a string of "mistakes", from the Budget to the threatened strike by tanker drivers.

It said too much policy was driven by short-term decision-making and attacked the "poor quality" of national strategy in Whitehall. And it warned that "chaotic strategy" risked creating a "vicious circle", where weak leadership led to bad policy, further undermining public trust in government.

The Government has faced a barrage of attacks over controversial tax measures in the Budget and its handling of issues such as the planned strike by fuel tanker drivers and the failed attempt to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada.

Also on Monday, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries accused Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne of being "arrogant posh boys" with no understanding of ordinary voters.

The Prime Minister insisted he understood the challenges facing people struggling to pay their bills and suggested the coalition's troubles were down to poor communication. Mr Cameron told BBC News: "If you don't communicate what you are doing properly, then yes, you have got a problem. Sometimes we have got the action right but the message hasn't been right."

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