By Monitor

IF I remember correctly, at the time of the Conservative Spring Forum at Cheltenham last year the party held a lead of 19 points over Labour. Perhaps that was just a blip in the polling, but when the faithful gather at Brighton tomorrow it will be in the knowledge that the lead has shrunk to five points, according to the latest Daily Telegraph poll -- taken over last weekend when the news of allegations of bullying against Gordon Brown In Andrew Rawnsley's new book was breaking. Perhaps five points is another blip but it was confirmed to some degree by the Sun's daily poll yesterday which registered only a six point lead for the Conservatives. Figures of this kind could mean a Labour majority of between 15-20 in the House of Commons.

Early days, of course, but a warning to David Cameron that his campaign needs rethinking. A ComRes poll also released yesterday underlined the nature of the problem he faces. Only 28 per cent of those questioned said they knew what the Conservatives stood for and liked it; 36 per cent said they knew but didn't like it; another 36 per cent said they didn't know what the Conservatives stand for.

If those figures are anywhere nearly correct both policies and presentation need attention. At the moment everything seems to depend on David Cameron and there are some signs that he is carrying too heavy a burden.


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