Theresa May was today handed a valedictory double blow on her last day as Conservative Party leader as her divided party suffered a catastrophic defeat in the Peterborough by-election.
The Tories limped in third in the election behind Labour, which won the seat, and Brexit Party, posing a major headache for her replacement.
It came as a new poll showed that Nigel Farage’s new party holds a commanding lead in voting intentions if there was to be a general election.
Despite only being registered four months ago the Brexit Party is on 26 per cent, according to analysis carried out by YouGov for the Times before the by-election.
Labour and the resurgent Lib Dems trail them in equal second on 20 percent.
But in yet another dismal showing for the Conservatives they are currently fourth on 18 per cent.
Mrs May will formally stand down as Tory leader today, although she will carry on as Prime Minister and acting party leader until a successor is in place.
After her tearful televised announcement a fortnight ago today’s announcement will be low key.