Boris Johnson would do best against Labor and lose a 26-seat general election, new polls show
Released: 5:20 p.m. EDT, Oct. 22, 2022 | Updated: 5:20 p.m. EDT, Oct. 22, 2022
Today’s Mail on Sunday poll shows that despite the months of scandal, intrigue and infighting that toppled his premiership over the summer, Boris Johnson retains a level of electoral magnetism that far surpasses that of any of his party peers.
Although the poll shows Labor would still be 10 points clear if Mr Johnson were prime minister, the projected Labor majority of 26 that would signal this could soon be overturned in the course of a general election campaign.
The same cannot be said for the 124-seat majority Labor is likely to win if Rishi Sunak were at the helm, or the record-breaking 320-seat majority if Liz Truss were still at the helm.
Crucial to renewed hopes for Mr Johnson’s leadership is that private election dates circulating in the Tory party suggest Mr Johnson is the only candidate with a chance of winning the Red Wall seats , which are key to Tory election hopes.
Boris Johnson, as leader of the Conservative Party, would help the Tories secure the most seats in the next general election, according to a Mail on Sunday poll
In those seats, Mr Johnson has an approval rating of +36 percent, according to a Portland Communications poll, compared to +21 for Mr Sunak and +22 for Penny Mordaunt. When asked which potential leader would make them vote more conservative in the next general election, Mr Johnson came out on top with 56 per cent support, compared to 48 per cent for Mr Sunak.
Mr Johnson’s influence in the election was highlighted in Mr Sunak’s own constituency, Richmond in Yorkshire, last Friday night when author Jeffrey Archer spoke at an event for Tory MP Matt Vickers. When the 200-strong crowd was asked for a show of hands as to who they would prefer to lead, Johnson or Sunak, Boris won 60-40.
And a YouGov poll of Tory members released last week showed the ousted Prime Minister’s continued popularity with party loyalists.
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak returns to his home in London today. Mr Sunak is due to meet Mr Johnson tonight
Released before Liz Truss’ resignation, it showed that Mr Johnson was the party members’ preferred replacement. 32 percent wanted him to come back, compared to just 23 percent for Rishi Sunak.
And that’s despite the fact that as early as July, a YouGov poll showed that 59 per cent of Tory members wanted Mr Johnson to quit.
But hanging over it all is the threat that just weeks after his triumphant return as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson could be suspended or even expelled from Parliament altogether.
The Commons’ Privileges Committee will begin taking public evidence next month into whether Mr Johnson lied to other MPs about what he knew about lockdown busting parties at No 10 during the pandemic.
The leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, is the only candidate so far to have officially declared that she is running
If the committee – chaired by veteran Labor MP Harriet Harman – finds that Boris has deliberately misled the Commons, it could propose a 10-day suspension of the Commons, which in turn could see Mr Johnson opting out of a by-election in its marginal seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
The ruling has yet to be approved by the Commons – sparking threats from Johnson loyalists that they would seek to veto the sanction.
A row erupted last night over claims that evidence already presented to the inquest was so damaging that even conservative sources predicted Mr Johnson would be “gone by Christmas”.
In a statement to The Mail on Sunday, Sir Charles Walker, a newly appointed Tory member of the committee, said he “does not recognize” the evidence claims – not least because the committee “has yet to start taking oral evidence”.
Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned from office on Thursday, sparking the second Tory leadership contest in two months
But some of Johnson’s allies are nervous that the first month of his return to No10 could be dominated by the televised hearings in a dusty Commons committee room – with the Prime Minister himself testifying.
Other MPs, desperate for him to return privately, dismiss the danger – they insist the public has “walked away from the pandemic” and that the committee – which has a built-in Tory majority – will not stop to impose a ten-day suspension of a serving PN.
There are also suggestions that the fact that Mr Johnson would have been reconfirmed as Prime Minister would deter Ms Harman’s committee from “pulling the trigger”.
Mr Johnson’s critics dismiss this as ridiculous.