Johnson's lead over Labour balloons to 18 points - Kantar poll

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the University of Bolton after a large fire broke out at a student accommodation on Friday night, in Bolton, Britain, November 16, 2019. Christopher Furlong/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has surged to an 18-point lead over the opposition Labour Party, according to an opinion poll published by market research company Kantar ahead of Britain’s Dec. 12 election.

Support for the Conservatives jumped to 45%, up eight points from the last Kantar poll published six days ago, while Labour was unchanged on 27%.

The pro-European Union Liberal Democrats were on 16%, down one point, and the Brexit Party was on 2%, plunging by seven points.

“The very large (8 point) increase in Conservative support since our last poll is almost wholly at the expense of the Brexit Party,” Kantar said on Tuesday.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage announced earlier this month that the party would not field candidates in parliamentary seats won by the Conservatives in 2017.

Kantar said it had changed its polling methodology so that any respondent selecting a party which does not have a candidate in their local seat had their choice re-allocated to their second preference when stated.

Kantar surveyed 1,176 people online between Nov. 14 and Nov. 18.

Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Kylie MacLellan