YouGov ballot outcome as Keir Starmer wins Sky News General Election debate

Keir Starmer won the Sky News debate the Battle for No10 by a clear margin, according to a snap YouGov poll.

The rapid survey showed the Labour leader winning by a margin of almost two to one – with 64% saying Mr Starmer performed best compared to 36% for Rishi Sunak.

It will come as a major blow to the under-fire PM who was pinning his hopes of reviving the Tories’ dismal fortunes on the TV debates with just three weeks before the country heads to the polls.

During the debate the Tory leader was repeatedly booed and laughed at by the studio audience and at one point attempted to blame junior doctors for record NHS waiting lists.

In a brutal question after years of Tory turmoil, he was also asked by Sky New host Beth Rigby: “How do we know that if you won the General Election, you’d still be prime minister in two years time?” Mr Sunak replied: “I can appreciate people’s frustrations. Of course, we haven’t got everything right, but I don’t think any government does. And I know it’s been very difficult for many people.”

During the debate an ex-Tory local chair, Amy, took on Mr Sunak over his rule-breaking during Covid. The woman, who described herself as a “lifelong true blue”, said: “I’ll be very honest here, that picture of the Queen, our late Queen, who was left to bury her husband on her own during Covid – following guidance that we all followed – and knowing what was happening in Downing Street and you were part of that.

“You had a fixed penalty notice and you’ve apologised and I understand all of that. That’s where the trust broke down. And I just think we have long memories in this country as a public. I appreciate the apology tonight, thank you very much, but you have to realise that there is a long way to go to really rebuild that.”

Mr Starmer also faced difficult questions over his support for ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn ahead of Labour‘s disastrous general election result in December 2019. But the Labour leader said: “I was certain that we would lose the 2019 election. I did campaign for Labour, of course I did, I will openly say I campaigned for Labour, I wanted good colleagues to be returned into the Labour Party.”

He was also asked if there was a trust issue with voters given his U-turns on pledges from the 2020 Labour leadership race. He replied: “No because what I would say is this – I decided it must be country first so every decision after that I judged previous decisions, previous positions and I said ‘Is this truly country first, party second’; if the answer to that was ‘no’ then I changed the position and dragged my party back to the service of working people.”