Britain's Conservatives trail Labour by 18 points, says Opinium poll

FILE PHOTO: Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer walks with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the State Opening of Parliament ceremony, at the Houses of Parliament

LONDON (Reuters) - The opposition Labour Party’s lead over British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s governing Conservative Party has increased to 18 points, according to an opinion poll published on Saturday.

A national election is expected later this year. The poll, conducted by Opinium Research, predicted Labour would take 43% of the vote, versus 25% for the Conservatives.

Its previous poll had given Labour a 16-point lead.

Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer are increasingly making the economy a pre-election battleground. Opinium underlined that Labour led across the board on economic issues, including on improving public services and running the economy.

Opinium said it had carried out an online survey of 2,029 UK adults from May 15 to 17.

A YouGov poll for the Times newspaper, published on May 9, put Labour's lead at 30 points.

The Conservatives have been in government, either in coalition or on their own, since 2010, with the tenure largely marked by Britain's vote to leave the European Union and controversy over the handling of the COVID crisis.

The country has had five different prime ministers in that time.

($1 = 0.7875 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Timothy Heritage)