The political landscape of Britain is changing if the latest poll is to be believed with the emergence of a potential new third party — The Conservatives.

According to the latest ICM poll, the Tories have fallen to 27% -their lowest rating since November 1998. The Liberal Democrats are now only four points behind on 23%, their highest rating since May 1994, and breathing down the necks of the Conservatives.

According to the Guardian On these figures if there were a general election tomorrow not only would Labour be returned with an even bigger majority but the Tory party chairwoman, Theresa May, and fellow shadow cabinet members David Davis and Oliver Letwin would all lose their seats to Liberal Democrat challengers.

What this poll doesn’t show is that in Scotland and Wales the Tories are already the third party. Lacking a credible leadership and lacking any policies that resonate with voters the Tories and their right-wing press have stooped to trying to whip up a ‘scandal’ around the Prime Minister’s wife.

Although the poll shows the public not impressed with the Cheriegate affair, which has dented Tony Blair’s personal rating, there is no sign that the mess has hit support for his government as a whole – on the contrary Labour is heading for another landslide victory and the increasingly irrelevant Tories are heading for oblivion. The public haven’t been fooled by this sorry attempt to create the impression of sleaze.

The only worry for the left in this poll is what to do when the Lib Dems eventually take over from the Tories as the main opposition party? Many of us have always looked rather admiringly upon the social democracies of Scandinavia but do we really want a political system where the choice is between two centre-leftish liberal parties?