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Boris Johnson's popularity falls to record low among Tory members

Victoria Bell
·3-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London.
Boris Johnson visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London. (PA)

Boris Johnson appears to be out of favour with Conservative members, according to a net satisfaction survey of the party that shows him falling to a record low.

The prime minister recorded -10.3 in ConservativeHome’s latest cabinet league table, coming in second to last among cabinet figures.

His rating was better only than that of his education secretary Gavin Williamson, who scored -43.1.

The monthly analysis comes as the party enters its annual conference, which is being held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson’s rating is likely to be dipping in part because of his initial handling of the pandemic and the number of deaths the UK has suffered.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the Conway Heathrow Asphalt & Recycling Plant construction site in west London.
Boris Johnson has been criticised for his initial handling of the pandemic and the unprecedented number of deaths the UK has suffered. (PA)

Coronavirus deaths in the UK currently stand at 42,440, according to Johns Hopkins – the fifth highest total in the world – and positive tests are on the rise.

Both Tory and Labour MPs have been vocal about their criticism of “draconian” restrictions such as local lockdowns in the north of England and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, which has seen crowding on streets after people are kicked out.

The “rule of six” and the test and trace system have also come under fire, the latter of which Johnson promised would be “world beating”.

In September Johnson’s rating was +24.6%, indicating Tory members’ view of him has dropped significantly in the space of one month.

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The fall could be also down to his dramatic move to introduce legislation that could override parts of the divorce agreement between the UK and the EU and, by the government’s own admission, breaks international law.

The government is seeking power to undo sections of the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the Withdrawal Agreement it signed with the EU in January.

Read more: Boris Johnson insists COVID rules are easy to follow – as 64% say they aren't

His internal market bill must now be approved by the House of Lords, but critics say the law will damage the UK’s standing in other international disputes and spoil trust between the UK and other countries.

Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May has made clear in Parliament that she is concerned about the implications of the bill.

“How can the government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations of the agreements it signs?” she said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London.
Boris Johnson during a visit to the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London on Monday. (PA)

Other Tory MPs, including Sir Roger Gale, former home secretary Sajid Javid and Andrew Percy, have also been vocal in their criticism of Johnson and the bill.

ConservativeHome wrote: “The Prime Minister has been low, though not nearly by this much, in the table before – shortly before he resigned as Foreign Secretary.

“He bounced back then, and could do so again. Once again, we make the point that this is much the same panel as gave him a 93 per cent rating after the last election.”

Read more: Have your say: Are you happy with Boris Johnson's personal handling of coronavirus?

Meanwhile, the chancellor Rishi Sunak scored the highest approval rating with +81.5, followed by Liz Truss with +69.7.

Sunak has won plaudits during the pandemic from both Tories and Labour for his Eat Out to Help Out promotion and the furlough scheme, which will now be replaced by a new job support scheme.

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