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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Syria intervention boosts UK’s Conservatives in polls

The Tories have climbed to a five-point lead over Labour following Britain's participation in the strikes on Syria

A YouGov poll showed Theresa May's Conservatives enjoying a boost in support following the strikes on Syria. (Reuters)
A YouGov poll showed Theresa May's Conservatives enjoying a boost in support following the strikes on Syria. (Reuters)

The West’s military strikes on Syria have improved the Conservative Party’s standing with British voters, a new poll suggests.

A YouGov poll for The Times newspaper, published on Saturday, shows the Tories on 43 per cent, up three points since last week.

The Labour Party is polling at 38 per cent, down two points. Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, described the Syrian attack as “legally questionable” amid frustration that parliament hadn’t been consulted.

The five-point lead for the ruling party is its biggest advantage since last year’s general election, in which Prime Minister Theresa May squandered her parliamentary majority.

It comes at a time when the topic of defence and security is surging in importance for voters. The poll showed the subject is up five points, and has now overtaken crime.

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The most important topic for voters remains Brexit, followed by health and immigration.

Britain joined the US and France in launching more than 100 missiles against Syrian government targets on April 14. The prime minister said it was clear that only the Assad regime could have conducted the suspected chlorine attack on Douma the week before, which killed dozens.

However, Mr Corbyn, who has opposed British military action throughout his career, said Mrs May “should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after [US President] Donald Trump”.

The YouGov poll showed Mrs May’s personal ratings increasing further ahead of Mr Corbyn’s. Thirty-nine per cent of voters believe the Conservative leader would make the best prime minister, up two points, compared with the Labour leader on 25 per cent, down one point.

The poll of 1,631 adults was taken at the start of last week, just days after the Western air strikes on Syria.