Boris Johnson warned about his future after bad polling
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Mr Johnson has been a major figure in Conservative Party politics for many years, becoming its leader – and, in turn, the Prime Minister – in 2019. But Brexit voters who lent him their vote are “calling the loan back”, a leading think tank chief has claimed, suggesting Mr Johnson has very little time left to enjoy in office.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, Britain’s oldest conservative think tank, has predicted that the Prime Minister could face a “serious challenge to his leadership” after the next election.
He told Express.co.uk this election is “likely to return Britain to the territory of hung parliaments or very small majorities”, which would result in the Tories seeking to rearrange its top brass.
The cause of voter grievance is not, he added, a question of personality but the political direction of Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party.
Mr Harris-Quinney said: “Boris has lost what trust he had in the conservative movement, over issues like immigration and his green agenda.”
He added that while Mr Johnson was portrayed as the “great hope of conservatism” – especially over his apparent support of the Brexit movement – it soon became apparent he was “merely another Blairite metropolitan liberal in different skin”.
While before his election, Mr Johnson “talked a good game”, he then “failed to deliver” after gaining power.
Mr Harris-Quinney said: “He isn’t the patriotic conservative he sold himself as.”
The area where this is perhaps most clear, he claimed, is immigration.
READ MORE: Boris on brink as voters turn on Tories
Despite acting as a figurehead in the Brexit campaign, which focused heavily on the need to regain control of Britain’s borders from the EU, Mr Johnson has long been a champion of light immigration control.
In a 2012 Telegraph column, he insisted Britons must “stop moaning about the dam-burst” of immigration.
He has also long been a champion of amnesty for illegal migrants.
The post-Brexit immigration system has received criticism from commentators and groups, including Migration Watch UK, for failing to tackle the problem of the number of migrants entering Britain – legally or illegally – each year.
Mr Harris-Quinney said: “People did not vote for Brexit to merely change the continent of origin of immigrants to the UK, they voted to end mass immigration, legal and illegal.
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“Mass immigration is also the major reason the public voted Labour out and the Conservatives in in 2010, but it is now likely more immigrants will have come in during Conservative Government than the Labour years.”
A recent poll suggested that almost three-quarters of Britons believe Mr Johnson has done a “bad job” on immigration.
Another major area of contention – including among Tory parliamentary ranks – is the green agenda.
Talking in an annual address to the think tank, Sir John Redwood, a senior Bow Group patron and Tory backbencher, urged the Prime Minister to think twice about its net-zero policies.
He said: “The Government should not demolish any power stations as long as issues over security of supply remain…
“We are blessed with access to a lot of oil and gas. It is greener as well as more reliable to have our own sources of energy, rather than importing it, and relying only on the goodwill of foreigners.
“So I call on the Government to reverse its policy and put in a policy that is domestic first.”
This comes after an Ipsos MORI poll suggested Britons believe Mr Johnson’s Government has done a “bad job” on almost every measure – including managing the economy (usually a strong-point for the Tories), handling Brexit and, importantly, managing immigration – aside from ensuring the public are vaccinated against Covid “as soon as possible”.
But the Bow Group Chairman added that the Conservative Party’s problems extend further than Mr Johnson’s reign.
He offered a damning indictment of the party, saying: “The Conservatives have now been in power for 11 years, and the Government has operated exclusively to the left of Blair on every major policy area.
“There is no one left to blame, it is the Conservative Party’s fault, and the public are now calling time on what has been an 11 year con.”
The next general election will be held no later than 2024.
Number 10 Downing Street has been approached for comment.
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