Sterling dips after poll suggests hung parliament

The Prime Minister was asked if she would resign if the Conservatives lost their majority next week.

In the strongest signal yet that the election is much closer than previously thought, May's lead has collapsed from 24 points since she surprised both rivals and financial markets on April 18 by calling the election. The main opposition Labour Party took a 33 percent share, unchanged versus the earlier poll.

It later recovered the lost ground to $1.29 after another poll from Panelbase gave the Tories a 15-point lead.

Labour would get 257 seats, up from 229, the Liberal Democrats 10, up from the nine Tim Farron's party held when the election was called, the SNP 50, the Greens one and Plaid Cymru three.

Sterling plunged in the wake of a YouGov poll showing that Mrs May's once commanding lead had been wiped out and the Conservatives would fall short of the required seats for an overall majority.

That would raise questions about the future of Brexit, Britain's $2.5-trillion economy and British policy on a range of issues including corporate taxation and government spending and borrowing.

But the poll sent the Pound down 1 per cent against the euro to euros 1.143 and by half a cent against the dollar to $1.277 - risking another bout of inflation for families and firms.

The weak pound helped lift the FTSE 100 35 points, or 0.5%, to 7,555 with technology and industrial stocks providing the upward momentum.

The YouGov survey published on Thursday said that 37% of people living in London think Labour leader Corbyn would make the best prime minister, while 34% went with May.

Following the 2015 general election, an independent inquiry was commissioned by the British Polling Council and the Market Research Society.

Betting markets give a more than 80% probability of May winning an overall majority, though they were wrong ahead of the unexpected Brexit result in the June 23 referendum past year. Any party that wanted to form a government could also seek the support of the Scottish National Party, which is anti-Brexit but also wants to break up the United Kingdom.

Almost a year after the European Union referendum, the PM will say this election gives voters an opportunity to "affirm" their decision to leave by voting for her to continue in Downing Street. That was, after all, the reason she announced the vote.

"Corbyn is selling a wonderland", The Sun said. "And even if his promises are practically impossible and economically catastrophic, set against the Tories' unnecessarily defensive campaign it's small wonder he appears to be picking up support".

May was taunted by other party leaders for not attending a televised debate with them.

The Conservatives were represented by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who accused Labour of having a "money-tree, wish-list manifesto and no plan for Brexit".

The headline figures certainly stand out given previous assumptions and polling data pointing to the Conservatives securing a majority.

  • Zachary Reyes