Tory says if Labour really thought Boris unpopular they wouldn’t want resignation

Partygate: Tory MP is challenged on Boris Johnson's successor

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After Mr Johnson became the first Prime Minister in history to be sanctioned for breaking the law, Mr Starmer has hammered his apparent apathy for the rules his government created and his alleged dishonesty in parliament, insisting “the country deserves better”. Mr Starmer has, alongside many political commentators, called for Mr Johnson’s resignation as a result of the police-issued fine for partygate. But member of the House of Lords and former MEP Daniel Hannan has questioned why Labour would want Mr Johnson to resign if they are convinced that the country is against him.

If Labour’s claim is correct that the UK is united against Mr Johnson, this would make him an easy opponent in the 2024 election should he remain leader of the Conservative party.

Mr Hannan raises the question of whether Labour actually think the British public want Mr Johnson gone – or if they do not believe they can beat him.

While many have concurred with Mr Hannan’s logic, others have argued that actually this is a point in Labour’s favour – that rather than playing politics, they are calling for Mr Johnson to resign because they believe that is better for the country.

Mr Hannan tweeted yesterday evening: “If Labour is truly convinced that the country shares its hatred of Boris Johnson, why is it so keen to remove him before the next election?”

Many commenters argued this contradiction exposes Labour’s fear of the PM as an opponent, and are aiming to capitalise on partygate to remove him from the competition ahead of 2024.

One commenter compared the situation to competitiveness in sport, stating: “It’s always disappointing when a football team you hate sacks its manager for poor performance.

“You want him to stay because he’s doing a bad job.

“They’re scared of him.”

One commenter claimed that the Labour party has “more chance with a cake than with democracy” of beating Mr Johnson.

Another added: “They may have calculated that none of Johnson’s potential replacements is popular enough to win a GE, or even particularly well known”.

In a roundup of four polls taken after Mr Johnson was hit with a police fine, author Mark Pack found that across all polling results the majority of the British public felt that Mr Johnson should resign.

Mr Johnson’s YouGov approval rating took a ten point hit, bringing him down to -45, while Mr Starmer’s rating has remained relatively constant and sits at -22, making him the least unpopular senior politician.

Defending Mr Starmer, some commenters accused Mr Hannan of placing politics over integrity.

One argued: “Some people put the national interest above personal interest… Some don’t.”

Another added: “Why are politicians, and their tame voters so readily accepting, even desiring, of the demise of integrity in politics?”

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“It’s called putting the national interest above the party interest”, argued another.

However Mr Starmer was accused by several commenters of using the deaths of thousands during the coronavirus pandemic as political ammunition against Mr Johnson, refuting the idea that he is operating entirely out of national integrity.

The PM has faced similar criticism for “using the Ukraine card”, according to Politico, when he cited Putin’s barbaric war as his reason for refusing to resign following his legal fine.

Rishi Sunak has also had his integrity as a politician brought into question by an economist who accused him of putting “politics before economics” in his Spring Statement, in which he announced a cut to income tax to come into effect just before the May 2024 election.

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