Labour lead slashed to just five points

Labour's lead over the Conservatives has been cut down to just five points, according to a new poll.

The ICM/Guardian findings will make worrying reading for Ed Miliband, who is used to a double-digit lead in most surveys and a solid eight-point lead in previous ICM polls.

The poll result is in line with a Sunday Times/You Gov survey this weekend which saw a significant rise in David Cameron's personal ratings, as he continued to recover from his low-point last May.

The ICM poll put Labour down two points on 38%, the Conservatives up one on 33% and the Lib Dems up two on 15%.

Interestingly, the Tory recovery is dependent on men. Women voters seem to be departing the coalition in droves. If only women voted, Labour would be enjoying a 16-point lead.

The reduction in the Labour lead could be due to the prominence of foreign affairs on the front pages – from Cameron's EU speech to the hostage crisis in Algeria.

However, this weekend's You Gov poll painted a confusing picture on Europe.

When asked which party they trust most "to look after Britain's interests in Europe" people selected Labour over the Tories by 23% to 20%, but when asked which individual they trusted most to negotiate with Europe, Cameron trounced Miliband by 26% to 18%.

The ICM survey had better news for Labour on benefits, where the two main parties have created strict election dividing lines.

Just 36% agreed with the government's decision to cap benefit rises at one per cent, while 55% went with Labour and said the move was "unfair".