Labour have restored their lead over the Conservatives in a regular poll taken by former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft after falling behind in the wake of Ed Miliband’s widely-criticised conference speech.
The weekly poll showed Mr Miliband’s party up two points to 32 per cent, while David Cameron’s Tories fell four to 28 per cent.
After seizing the headlines by winning the Clacton by-election and running Labour a close second in Heywood and Middleton last week, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party was up two points to 19 per cent - the highest score yet in the surveys carried out by the Conservative peer.
Liberal Democrats are up one point at eight per cent and the Greens down two at five per cent.
Lord Ashcroft said: “The results suggest the Tories’ post-conference bounce has been short-lived.
“This underlines the finding from the poll I published yesterday, which found that on the fundamentals, the conference season changed little except to reinforce the parties’ existing strengths and weaknesses: the Conservatives extended their leads on competence, toughness, welfare reform and managing the economy, while Labour consolidated their position on the cost of living, the NHS and being `on the side of people like me’.”
The poll found that Ukip continues to have momentum on its side, with 29 per cent of those questioned saying they were “moving towards” the eurosceptic party - including 23 per cent of Conservative backers, 12 per cent of Labour supporters and 31 per cent of swing voters.
The poll comes after a difficult few weeks for the Labour party with much disquiet expressed from backbenchers over the poor party conference and lack of traction in the opinion polls.
:: Some 1,001 adults were questioned between October 10 and 12 for the Ashcroft National Poll.