Labour is on course to lose dozens of seats in Red Wall councils to the Tories in next week's local elections, a YouGov poll has revealed.
The survey found key marginals including Dudley, Northumberland and Derby are expected to be won by the Conservatives, who are also likely to be the largest party in Bolton.
Former red strongholds such as Bury, Hyndburn and Lincoln are likely to fall as well as threatened majorities in places like Sheffield, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
Should such results materialise in the north, it will increase pressure on leader Sir Keir Starmer, who was out campaigning in Hartlepool today, and fuel concerns that the party would not be able to compete in the next general election.
The damning poll found more than half of people surveyed felt the party didn't understand people like them, with just one in five claiming it did.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Asked if Sir Keir was a better leader than his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, 40 per cent said he was, but nearly a third thought he'd been neither better nor worse, with some 48 per cent believing Labour would be unable to form a competent government.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour Party leader (L) and Dr Paul Williams, Labour Party candidate for Hartlepool (R), visit the Liberty Steal Mill in Hartlepool today
One senior MP on the Labour left told the Times Sir Keir would have to consider stepping down if more ground was to be lost in key areas in the north and midlands.
'If it's not working he needs to let someone else come in who will make the changes required,' they said.
Meanwhile a Red Wall Tory added: 'There is concern among colleagues that if we win Hartlepool, Starmer might quit — and that would be a shame for us.'
However, another poll, produced by the Daily Mail, found the Tory party's lead over Labour has narrowed to only one percentage point and the Prime Minister's popularity has been dented in the wake of revelations about his Downing Street flat renovation.
But it also found that Boris Johnson enjoys overwhelming public backing for his successful vaccine rollout and is still seen as a more effective leader than his opponent.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The Survation poll – commissioned by the Mail ahead of local and mayoral elections next week – shows that the Tories' lead over Labour has fallen from six points in a week.
Worryingly for Mr Johnson, only 25 per cent of respondents believe he upholds the highest standards in public life, 29 per cent think he is trustworthy and 30 per cent say he generally tells the truth.
Despite the PM's emphatic denial, far more people believe he did say that he would rather let the 'bodies pile high' rather than another lockdown than those who did not.
The Survation poll – commissioned by the Mail ahead of local and mayoral elections next week – shows that the Tories' lead over Labour has fallen from six points in a week
And a clear majority of those who have been following the story – 58 per cent – believe he has behaved improperly over the controversial Downing Street refurbishment.
However, the poll shows overwhelming public support for the Government's vaccination programme.
Some 72 per cent believe ministers have handled it well, almost four times as many as the 19 per cent who