Whitehall officials told The Times two weeks ago that only minor preparations had been made for scenarios which did not involve the Tories winning a majority on Thursday.
After a series of polls suggested Labour’s recent boost in support could threaten the Prime Minister’s hopes of a Commons majority, the result of General Election has been plunged into uncertainty.
Recent polls have suggested Theresa May's lead is slipping
According to the Times, one Whitehall source said: “A senior civil servant sat in a meeting and said, ‘We’ve just all been told to prepare our plan for a hung parliament.’ This goes further than before.”
Sources have reportedly told the newspaper that Labour frontbenchers have increased their communications with senior Whitehall officials in recent days.
In response, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “Since the start of the pre-election period, Government departments have been preparing for a range of outcomes. This is standard practice.”
The latest ICM poll for the Guardian
YouGov’s controversial election model continues to suggest there will be a hung parliament, with a poll on Monday putting the Conservatives on 42 per cent with Labour just behind on 38 per cent.
The model suggests that the Tories would win 305 seats, 11 short of an overall majority, with Labour on 268, the Lib Dems on 13 and SNP on 42. According to most polls and models, Jeremy Corbyn has almost no chance of becoming prime minister with an outright majority.
Despite fears for Theresa May’s election hopes, a new ComRes poll revealed the Conservatives are set to win over two million Ukip voters as those who backed the anti-EU party in 2015 turn to the Tory leader in the hope that she will deliver a good Brexit deal.
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Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Hackney Marshes Football Pitches, to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensure 5% of the Premier League's television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game, during a General Election campaign
The survey, carried out for the Sun, showed that almost half of those who backed Ukip at the last General Election are now planning to vote for the Conservatives on Thursday.
In February, just 20 per cent of those who previously backed the anti-EU party in 2015 pledged to vote for the Conservatives.
The news that 48 per cent of Ukip voters are set to back Theresa May will come as welcome news for Tory strategists, who have seen the party’s lead over Labour shrink rapidly in recent weeks.
Just 23 per cent of Ukip’s 3.9 million voters in 2015 say they will vote for the party this time, while 11 per cent will defect to Labour and 2 per cent will back the Lib Dems.
Theresa May pictured campaigning in Bradford on Monday
Around 35 per cent are yet to make up their mind, or have said they may change their vote before polling day on Thursday.
ComRes Chairman Andrew Hawkins said: “Theresa May’s appeal to former Ukip voters is worth almost 6 points on her poll lead over Labour, which might make all the difference between a workable majority and a landslide on Thursday.”
Mrs May’s hopes of gaining a bigger majority are boosted by the fact that 79 per cent of Ukip voters trust the Prime Minister to deliver a good Brexit deal, compared with just 54 per cent for party leader Paul Nuttall.