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Tories ‘More than half of England’s 100 most rural seats could lose’

Jeremy Hunt is among potential high-profile casualties at the election
Jeremy Hunt is among potential high-profile casualties at the election
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A poll that has handed yet another setback to Rishi Sunak suggests that the Conservatives may lose over half of the 100 most rural seats in England come election time.

According to the Survation survey, Labour is leading in the seats that have historically been Conservative heartlands.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party received 37% of the vote, while the Conservatives received 34%.

Labour support in the seats is up 17 points compared to the 2019 general election, while Tory backing has collapsed, falling by 25 points.

While the Conservatives currently hold 96 of the 100 seats, an analysis of the poll suggested that if the numbers were repeated at the election they may win just 43.

Labour would gain 51, with the Liberal Democrats – who are targeting dozens of rural constituencies as part of an election strategy aimed at winning support in the Blue Wall – also making a handful of gains.

Potential high-profile casualties could include Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary. Therese Coffey, a former environment secretary, is also projected to lose her Suffolk Coastal seat.

The poll, conducted between Jan 23-30 on behalf of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), was published at the start of what could be a challenging week for Mr Sunak.

His Rwanda Bill returns to the House of Lords for further scrutiny, GDP statistics will be published on Thursday, which could show the UK is in recession, and the week will finish with crunch by-elections in Wellingborough and Kingswood.

Elsewhere in the survey, the largest group of respondents (35 per cent) replied “don’t know” when asked which of the political parties they trusted most to grow the economy.
More voters said they believed Labour understood and respected rural communities and their way of life (28 per cent) more than the Conservatives (25 per cent).

Victoria Vyvyan, the president of the CLA, said: “People living in the countryside are ambitious. They want to start businesses, create jobs and grow the economy, but for decades, governments of all colours have treated the countryside as a museum, failing to generate the conditions necessary for growth.

“This poll makes it clear that rural voters up and down the country feel politically homeless and disconnected from central government – but their votes are still up for grabs.

“Whichever party produces a robust and ambitious plan for growth in the rural economy will undoubtedly secure support.”

The CLA has published a six-point plan urging the Conservatives and Labour to do more to unlock the potential of the rural economy, including calls for an increased agricultural budget of at least £4 billion a year to invest in a “world-class agriculture policy [to] help farmers deliver meaningful improvements to the environment”.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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