Boris Johnson losing public over Brexit handling as trust PLUMMETS ‒ poll disaster for PM

Tobias Ellwood says Boris Johnson no longer has his support

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now more unpopular in opinion polls than Theresa May was at her lowest ebb, as the ‘partygate’ scandal and Sue Gray report continue to drain support from the Conservatives. Doubts about the Prime Minister’s ability to lead and enable the UK to thrive are even being voiced in Brexit strongholds, with fears the Tory ‘blue wall’ is crumbling.

Data published shortly after the Sue Gray report was released shows the public’s trust in the Prime Minister’s ability to handle post-Brexit Britain is waning. 

Alarmingly, the same data set shows public confidence in Labour to handle Brexit is rising sharply.

The question posed by YoGov is: “Which political party would be the best at handling Brexit?” and has been tracking monthly since August 2019. 

Between 1,627 and 1,817 adults are polled each month, with the results weighted by gender, politics, region and social grade, to provide a snapshot of society. 

Overall, 27 percent said they believed the Conservatives would be best at handling Brexit in the latest survey, compared to 18 percent for Labour. 

Compare this to the same time two years ago, when 43 percent said the Tories were best placed, compared to just nine percent for Labour. 

The real worry for Conservative headquarters, however, will be the volume of people who now simply don’t know who would be best at handling Brexit. 

For the first time since Boris Johnson’s premiership began, this number was higher than the Tories’ in early January. 

It has recovered slightly now, but not by much; 25 percent of the public don’t know who would be best at handling Brexit, with 27 percent believing it should be the Tories. 

A more widespread poll undertaken by YouGov shows the public now largely believe a Labour government would be better placed at handling a number of key issues faced by the UK beyond Brexit. 

Each month, YouGov asks a cross-section of the British public whether a Conservative or Labour government would be best at managing a range of important policy issues facing the UK. 

Across all six categories — managing the economy, tackling the deficit, reducing poverty, helping people buy a home, keeping prices down, improving standards of living and providing more jobs — Labour is up, and the Tories are down.

For example, in May 2021, the Conservatives held a 24-point lead over Labour on managing the economy, but by January 2022, that lead had dropped to just six points. 

And on subjects like keeping prices down, as the nation heads into a cost of living crisis, Labour has overtaken the Conservatives with a nine-point lead.

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YouGov Research Manager Patrick English said: “The figures in our trackers…are an early warning system, in exactly the same way that public frustration with handling of prices back in the summer of last year was a precursor for the coming political storm of the cost of living crisis.

“If Labour continue to build leads with the public regarding their management of key policy issues, then significant improvements in public perceptions on their readiness to govern will likely soon follow.”

Threats to the Prime Minister’s ability to govern aren’t just coming from the public. 

As Mr Johnson heads into today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, he faces the reality that many within his own party now want his head to roll to save the rest. 

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood is the latest to say he plans to submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister to the 1922 Committee today. 

He told Sky News it was “time to resolve this” as the Conservative Party is “slipping into a very ugly place”.

If 54 Conservative MPs write letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson, then a vote of confidence will be triggered. 

Should he lose this vote, then he will be forced to step down. 

The threat of a confidence vote has loomed over Mr Johnson for weeks, but it seemed to have receded after Sue Gray’s report into Downing Street parties was unable to reveal many details. 

But Mr Ellwood said he wanted to break the “holding pattern” the party is in, saying it is “just horrible for all MPs to have to defend this to the British public”. 

“[Mr Johnson] himself should call a vote of confidence, rather than waiting for the inevitable 54 letters,” he said. 

“I will be submitting my letter today to the 1922 Committee.”

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