After a murderous month of scandals and slippages, Boris Johnson’s approval rating has hit a new low.
Dissatisfaction with the prime minister’s performance is more prevalent today than at any time during this term, according to a pollster.
Labor saw its fortunes improve after a few shaky weeks for the government, with the party taking the lead or closing the gap in several voter polls.
Mr Johnson’s popularity was already on the decline before the sleaze scandal due to concerns over the Covid situation and tax hikes, but the handling of the Owen Paterson case seriously undermined his reputation overnight .
The revelations of the deputies’ second job and the PM’s refusal to apologize for the debacle did further damage, according to a series of polls following.
It has been another difficult week for Mr Johnson after his performance in front of a meeting of business leaders, in which he repeatedly lost his place and spoke at length about Peppa Pig, was widely criticized.
Now Savanta ComRes says her personal approval rating is -14, lower than even during the darkest days of the pandemic.
The five percentage point slump was also nearly matched by government approval, which is now at -16.
Voters aren’t exactly in love with Sir Keir Starmer, whose personal approval rating is -9, according to the same pollster, but Labor’s rebound has held up.
Despite a partial recovery from the Tories, Labor still led by 38-36 on voting intentions.
The prime minister faces growing signs of concern within his own party over his recent performance and political decisions.
Downgrades to rail spending in the North have been heavily criticized by some Tory MPs, and dozens have refused to vote for a controversial change to the welfare plan that critics say will disadvantage poorer retirees.
There were briefings within Downing Street that people at the highest levels of government are concerned about his performance earlier this week.
It also emerged that a number of Conservative MPs reportedly submitted letters to the powerful 1922 party committee, although that number is believed to be well below the 15% needed to formally spark a leadership contest.
Sir Keir lobbied Mr Johnson during PMQs and hinted at rumors of a growing rift with Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
He said: The routine of prime ministers is falling apart. His chancellor fears people will get wise, his backbenchers say it’s embarrassing and senior Downing Street officials tell the BBC it just isn’t working.
Echoing a question asked by a reporter on Monday, Sir Keir said: Is everything okay, Prime Minister?
Mr Johnson replied: I will tell you what does not work is that line of attack.
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