News

Boris Johnson’s poll ratings slump to all-time low as MPs warn about leadership



Boris Johnson’s authority has suffered another series of damaging blows as his personal poll ratings slumped to an all-time low and senior backbenchers warned his leadership could soon be at stake.

The vice-chairwoman of the Tory 1922 Committee suggested her support for the Prime Minister could rest on the outcome of an investigation into allegedly Covid rule-breaking Downing Street parties by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

Meanwhile, senior Tory MPs told i Mr Johnson could be pulled deeper into trouble if his party is defeated in the crunch North Shropshire by-election on Thursday, with one suggesting it could be a “tipping point” for his leadership.

The Prime Minister was also facing fresh claims that he knew about the now-infamous alleged lockdown-breaching Christmas party inside No 10 on 18 December last year.

It came as Mr Johnson’s net favourability with voters dropped to an all-time low of -42 in a YouGov poll as several surveys showed Labour with a significant and widening lead over the Tories.

On Tory minister told i there were “a lot of people who are very cross and upset at the moment”.

They suggested “people who already have a grudge” against Mr Johnson could be expressing no confidence in him by “putting in letters to [Sir Graham] Brady”, with 54 needed to trigger a leadership contest.

The minister stressed the majority view is still that Mr Johnson “is a winner” and that “there is no real alternative” leader.

But they warned: “If we lose the by-election in North Shropshire things will definitely get worse and could be a problem for him.”

Veteran backbencher Sir Roger Gale told i: “If we were to lose North Shropshire, I think that would be a tipping point.

“I think at that point Sir Graham Brady would have to go to the Prime Minister and say ‘I think you should consider your position’.”

The Tory candidate in North Shropshire, Neil Shastri-Hurst, meanwhile said he was “angry” about the parties amid continuing reports the issue was coming up on the doorstep.

He told BBC Newsnight: “If the rules have been broken and guidance not adhered to it’s not acceptable.”

Nus Ghani, the newly elected vice chairwoman of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, meanwhile declined to give her support to the PM in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Ms Ghani said someone should “pay the penalty” if Mr Case’s investigation finds rules were broken and refused to say whether that should be the PM.

Put to her that Mr Johnson’s future was important given her role as a Tory MP, she said: “This is why the investigation is going to be absolutely key.”

Asked then if she could say after the investigation whether she still backed the PM, Ms Ghani replied: “Let’s see what the investigation draws out.”

It came as the PM’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings claimed Mr Johnson “knew (about) but I think did not attend” the No 10 party on 18 December last year, when indoor mixing was banned in London.

He also claimed that invitations were sent out to a party in the flat Mr Johnson shares with his wife Carrie, when England was in lockdown on 13 November 2020, and that there are “lots” of photos of parties in No 10 that will “inevitably get out”.

Asked if the PM knew about the 18 December party, his official spokesman said: “He was working on the 18th as you know on the emergence of another variant (Kent) but beyond that I’m not going to comment further.”

Government chief whip Mark Spencer insisted Downing Street staff “were not drinking alcohol” and partying during Covid restrictions.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.