Friday, 27 May 2022

‘Worse and worse’ Boris facing point of no return – PM ‘least favourable’ MP in new data

Boris Johnson: MPs have 'one go' at no confidence says host

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The ranking makes him the least favourable of all politicians, with a huge slump of 23 points since November and 29 points since this time last year.  In further embarrassment for the Tory leader Boris Johnson, the figure is the lowest net favourability score in Savanta ComRes’ Political Tracker since it began in May 2020.

Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes, said the row over lockdown-busting parties had brought the Tory party to “its knees”. 

He said:“Every poll seems to get worse and worse for this ailing Prime Minister, and this one is no different, with another sizeable slump in net favourability for both the PM and the government, scores that are so markedly different from just two months ago.

“Partygate has brought this government to its knees and Conservative backbenchers are sensing the opportunity to clean house, with many in line to lose their seats if the current Labour poll lead were to play out at a General Election.”

The Prime Minister’s position has been perilous since he admitted attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in the Downing Street garden on May 20 2020, during England’s first lockdown when the rules only allowed someone to meet one other person outdoors, as long as two-metre social distancing was observed.

Mr Johnson has insisted he believed it was a work event and he stayed 25 minutes to thank staff for their efforts.

He has denied seeing the invitation to the event sent by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting colleagues to bring a bottle for “socially distanced drinks” to make the most of the lovely weather.

But now he faces moves by Tory MPs to oust him from Downing Street in response to the row over lockdown-busting parties.

A series of gatherings in No 10 and Whitehall are being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray, and Tory MPs were urged by ministers to wait for her report before deciding whether to move against the Prime Minister.

But reports have suggested the threshold of 54 letters from MPs that would launch a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister could be reached on Wednesday.

The letters are confidential, so the chairman is the only person who knows how many lawmakers have actually written them.

A vote of no confidence can be triggered if 15 percent of Conservative MPs – which would mean 54 currently – write to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee.

If Mr Johnson lost that vote he would be out, but even if he won his position may be untenable if a significant minority of the 360 Tory MPs fail to support him.

Just two years ago, Mr Johnson was the darling of his party after he secured the biggest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, allowing him to deliver on promises to finally steer Britain out of the European Union.

But the relationship is rapidly souring under the impact of a steady stream of revelations about Downing Street’s apparent flouting of strict lockdown rules.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson was hit by the defection of a Red Wall MP to Labour. 

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford said the country needs a government that “upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity” but told Mr Johnson “both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.

His move was announced just minutes before a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, with the timing calculated to cause maximum damage to Mr Johnson.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer began Prime Minister’s Questions by “warmly welcoming” Mr Wakeford to his new party.

Mr Wakeford was cheered by Labour MPs as he arrived in the Chamber and sat behind Sir Keir for the Commons showdown with Mr Johnson.

The Prime Minister told Sir Keir: “The Conservative Party won Bury South for the first time in a generation under this Prime Minister on an agenda of uniting and levelling up and delivering for the people of Bury South. We will win again in Bury South.”

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