* May's lead down to 3 pct points - YouGov
* May to speak about Brexit to voters
* UK votes on June 8
* Interactive graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2pgjH8p
By Guy Faulconbridge and Kylie MacLellan
LONDON, June 1 British Prime Minister Theresa
May's gamble on a snap election was under question on Thursday
after a YouGov opinion poll showed her Conservative party's lead
had fallen to a fresh low of 3 percentage points just a week
before voting begins.
A failure to win the June 8 election with a large majority
would weaken May just as formal Brexit talks are due to begin
while the loss of her majority in parliament would pitch British
politics into turmoil.
In the strongest signal yet that the election is much closer
than previously thought, May's lead has collapsed from 24 points
since she surprised both rivals and financial markets on April
18 by calling the election, YouGov data showed. Opposition
Labour polled 39 percent against the Conservatives' 42 percent.
After a hectic campaign which was suspended by a suicide
bombing last week, pollsters have offered a vast range for the
result of the election: From May losing her majority to a
landslide victory for her Conservatives of more than 100 seats.
Betting that she would win a strong majority, May called the
snap election to strengthen her position at home as she embarked
on complicated Brexit negotiations with 27 other members of the
But if she fails to beat the 12-seat majority her
predecessor David Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will
have failed and her authority will be seriously undermined.
If May fails to win an overall majority, she would be forced
to strike a deal with another party to continue governing either
as a coalition or a minority government.
That would have uncertain consquences for Britain's $2.5
trillion economy, and future government policy on everything
from government spending and corporate taxation to bond
Sterling weakened against the dollar late Wednesday
after the YouGov poll but was trading at 1.2862 early on
Thursday, 3 cents above where it was trading at the start of the
The FTSE posted its best month of the year, helped
by a weaker pound.
YouGov said May was still the most favoured choice for prime
minister, though her 43 percent rating is the lowest it has ever
been. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is on his highest ever rating
of 30 percent.
May, an opponent of exiting the EU who won the top job in
the political chaos following the June 23 Brexit vote, will use
a speech on Thursday in northern England to pitch her vision of
The Financial Times came out publicly for May, saying she
was the safer bet, though The Sun newspaper cautioned that May's
campaign was far too defensive.
"Corbyn is selling a wonderland," The Sun said. "And even if
his promises are practically impossible and economically
catastrophic, set against the Tories' unnecessarily defensive
campaign it's small wonder he appears to be picking up support."
May has sought to present herself as the only party leader
able to make a success of Brexit, though she has given few
details of how she will handle the negotiations.
May will also set out plans on immigration, one of the key
Brexit concerns for businesses.
"Set free from the shackles of EU control, we will be a
great, global trading nation once again bringing new jobs and
new opportunities for ordinary working families here at home,"
she will say, according to quotes supplied by her campaign.
(Editing by Michael Holden; editing by Ralph Boulton)