Voters have more trust in Labour to handle immigration and asylum than the Tories, a new poll suggests.
The YouGov poll—commissioned by the Times of London—asked voters which party they thought would be better at handling various problems affecting the country.
The results appear to show Labour ahead on issues the Conservatives have traditionally dominated at elections, including immigration, law and order, and tax.
The newspaper reported on Tuesday how 22 percent of those who took part in the opinion poll believe Labour would do a better job handling immigration and asylum compared with 16 percent for the Conservatives, and 4 percent for the Liberal Democrats.
The results come as Labour continues to attack the prime minister and home secretary’s handling of the small boats crisis and increasing asylum backlog which shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock described as “chaotic.”
However, the YouGov poll results show that more people are undecided over the main parties’ plans, suggesting that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could yet win round floating voters before the general election.
The Times says that in total, 26 percent were unsure and 20 per cent rejected all the options, with the remainder saying they supported another party’s plans.
The poll also tested voters’ reactions on ten policy areas to determine which party they trusted most with issues that could decide the election.
In total, Labour was more trusted across nine of the ten questions polled and the Conservatives were ahead only on the issue of defence and security.
Small Boat Crossings
The newspaper says the poll suggests that Labour’s aggressive targeting of issues traditionally important to Conservative voters could be paying off.
Over the weekend Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, ruled out introducing a wealth tax or increasing the top 45p rate of income tax and the party is now increasingly set on drawing attention to Mr. Sunak’s record on small boats crossings.
Labour accused the government of allowing a record number of arrivals in the past 12 days after 3,014 migrants arrived between August 16 and August 27.
Mr. Sunak’s press secretary defended his record, pointing to the overall number of crossings being lower than the record-breaking figures of last year and Labour’s refusal to vote with the government on measures designed to prevent people smugglers ferrying people across the Channel.
Speaking to the Times, the press secretary said: “Small boats crossings are down by around 15 per cent compared to last year thanks to the radical action that this Conservative government has taken, despite forecasts of crossings increasing.
“Thanks to the action this government has taken, including passing the toughest laws ever to tackle illegal boat crossings, strike deals with our allies to return illegal migrants and increase patrols on the Channel, we are making progress to deter and stop these dangerous boat crossings, unlike the Labour Party who have voted against these measures at every turn and have presented no alternative plan to the British people.”
On Monday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman rejected any suggestion it was a mistake to pledge to stop small boats crossings, as she hit out at “a range of forces” seeking to block ministers.
“It’s what the British people expect of us,” she told Sky News.
“It’s what I passionately believe is the right thing to do. And we are making progress. We’ve passed our landmark legislation.
“But let’s also be clear about what we’re up against. We’re up against a range of forces which are intent on stopping us—whether it’s immigration lawyers, charities, NGOs, many of whom have very close links with the Labour Party, operating night and day to stop us from delivering this pledge through legal challenges in the courts.”
In addition to winning over voters on issues where the Conservatives have traditionally been strong, the poll appears to show that Labour maintains a lead in areas where it has often been ahead in the past.
Of all the policy areas, Labour’s most significant lead came on the NHS, where 39 percent of voters backed its handling of the health service compared with 12 per cent for the Conservatives.
On education and schools, Labour had a lead of 35 percent to 15.
On housing the figures were 33 percent to ten, and on the economy 25 per cent to 21.
The Labour party was also ahead on Brexit, with 19 per cent favouring its policies compared with 17 percent for the Tories.