Voters favour Farage to be leader of the opposition and Reform to replace the Tories

Rishi Sunak has been hit with another blow after a major new survey suggested that voters now prefer Nigel Farage than “a Conservative leader” to be leader of the opposition to Labour.

The same survey by Redfield and Wilton shows that 50 percent think it was wrong to exclude Mr Farage from the televised head-to-head leaders debate between Mr Sunak and Keir Starmer on 26 Jine.

The results have landed after a new row has broken out over the Tories latest social media campaign launched this morning showing Labour rolling out the red carpet for illegal migrants on a beah. Mr Farage accused the Tories of being “liars and cheats” in the advert after months of failure in stopping the small boats.

The Redfield and Wilton poll, exclusively carried out for The Independent, also reveals that more voters would like to see Farage’s Reform party replace the Tories than those wanting the Conservatives to remain as the leading centre right party.

Farage has made support for country sports a major (REUTERS)
Farage has made support for country sports a major (REUTERS)

The blow comes after polling guru Professor Sir John Curtice suggested that a series of polls yesterday appeared to confirm that Mr Sunak is leading his party to the worst defeat in its history “by a country mile”.

One of the MRP poll had the Tories only winning 53 seats with Mr Sunak becoming the first sitting prime minister to lose his seat in election history.

The survey of 2,000 voters on 18 June revealed that 33 percent want Mr Farage as leader of the opposition compared to whoever leads the Conservatives on 29 percent.

Among those who voted Conservative in 2019, the result is a virtual tie with 40 percent for Mr Farage and 39 percent for the next leader of the Conservative Party.

However, 41 percent think it is not plausible for Mr Farage to become leader of the opposition after the coming general election, against 37 percent who think it is.

Rishi Sunak comes third in almost every category compared with Starmer and Farage (James Manning/PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak comes third in almost every category compared with Starmer and Farage (James Manning/PA Wire)

Meanwhile, 39 percent would support and 32 percent would oppose Mr Farage becoming leader of the opposition after the coming general election with support up seven points from two weeks ago, while opposition is unchanged.

In more worrying news for the Tories 39 percent agree compared to and 31 percent disagree with the statement: “I would like to see Reform UK replace the Conservative Party as the main alternative to Labour.”

Mr Farage told the The Independent that he believes the UK is on the verge of a revolution in politics.

He said: “Something is happening.”

Redfield and Wilton’s senior research analyst, Eoin Sheehan said: “It’s not hard to understand why Nigel Farage performs best in this poll, even among Conservartive voters. All the other likely Conservative contenders for the job are tarnished by what voters see as 14 years of Conservative failure.

“The question is how much can things further slide for the Conservatives between now and election day.”

Meanwhile, when Redfield and Wilton polled characteristics comparing Sir Keir Starmer with Mr Sunak and Mr Farage, the Labour leader dominated.

Pluralities of Britons think Keir Starmer best embodies 11 of the 15 characteristics listed, including represents change (40 percent), stands up for the little guy (39 percent), and can fix the NHS (38 percent).

Meanwhile, 34 percent think Farage best embodies the characteristics “tells it like it is”, and 30 percent also think Nigel Farage “is charismatic.”

Rishi Sunak comes second (19 percent), ahead of Farage (18 percent), on only one characteristic: “can build a strong economy.” On all others, he places third.