#CameronMustGo: PM's turn to face public ridicule

Two new polls show Labour leading Tories by five points; Jack Monroe row fails to stop Twitterstorm

Columnist Nigel Horne

Having sat back and enjoyed the spectacle during Ed Miliband's stint in the public stocks, it is David Cameron's turn to face the rotten tomatoes.

Two opinion polls released yesterday both give Labour a five-point lead over the Conservatives, with Ukip gaining a point or two, while #CameronMustGo has been trending on Twitter ever since the Rochester and Strood by-election result came through.

The weekly Ashcroft National Poll has Labour on 32, Con 27, Ukip 18 and Lib Dems seven. Populus gives Labour 36, Con 31, Ukip 15 and Lib Dems nine.

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For all the talk of Miliband being out of touch with the electorate, the polls suggest that Cameron is rather more seriously disconnected, even if his personal rating is currently better than the Labour leader's.

The Ashcroft survey shows that in England, where most of the marginal seats in the upcoming general election are situated, the Tory vote has collapsed since the 2010 general election.

England - which accounts for 533 of the 650 House of Commons seats - was won by the Conservatives in 2010: they took 39.2 per cent of the English vote against Labour's 28.1 per cent. The new Ashcroft poll shows a dramatic shift: Labour now have a six per cent lead over the Tories in England, which according to Political Betting means an 8.5 per cent swing from Con to Lab.

It's not quite as simple as that, of course, because of Ukip's appearance on the battlefield: the Faragistes' share of the English vote has leapt from 3.5 per cent in 2010 to 22 per cent today, according to the Ashcroft poll.

What the polling shows is that if it wasn't for Labour's problems in Scotland, Ed Miliband would be well on target to win a Commons majority on 7 May.

The Scottish Nationalists' surging popularity will put paid to that if – as recent polling suggests - they can win the majority of the 41 seats Labour currently hold north of the border.

Even so, Miliband still has the best chance of being the next prime minister in the event of a hung parliament because a power-sharing deal between Labour and the SNP is far more likely – currently, at least - than any pact between Ukip and the Tories.

What Labour's lead in England also suggests is that while the headlines have been dominated by Miliband's troubles and the Ukip/EU immigration debate, Miliband's policies are resonating out there in the world beyond Westminster.

This is backed by YouGov polling for The Times: asked which national party represents "working people", 46 per cent of respondents said Labour, 24 per cent Ukip and 18 per cent the Conservatives.

#CameronMustGo, still trending strongly this morning, is being used by Labour supporters (and others) to attack Cameron on all fronts: unchecked poverty, zero-hours contracts, the bedroom tax and – especially - broken promises regarding the NHS.

Typical of the comments on Twitter are this from The Guardian's left-wing columnist Owen Jones: Why Must Cameron Go? "Because a society where the wealth of the top 1,000 can double while workers’ pay packets fall year after year is bankrupt."

And this from Harry Leslie Smith, the RAF veteran and activist: "When bank profits soar to obscene heights whilst food bank use becomes the norm for working Britain you know that #CameronMustGo."

The Prime Minister will doubtless dismiss this as leftist bombast – and he's been given good reason to do so by the anti-poverty campaigner (Ms) Jack Monroe, who tweeted that Cameron Must Go "Because he uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends."

Her tweet brought a torrent of criticism, with some Twitter users calling on The Guardian and Sainsbury's to cut their ties with Monroe, but it has not dented the enthusiasm of the Cameron Must Go brigade.

Among the posts are several based on solid factual evidence – this, for instance, sourced from the Health Service Journal: "There are 3,640 fewer nurses and 213 fewer doctors working in mental health compared to two years ago."

But the last word goes to Tony Blair's one-time right-hand-man Alastair Campbell. He tweeted: #CameronMustGo because my man flu hasn't and it never lasted more than a couple of days under Labour."

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