Friday, 21 Jun 2024

Boris boasts that Tories are in worse position now than when they kicked him out

Boris Johnson resigns as Conservative leader

Boris Johnson has insisted the Tories can still pull things around in time for the next general election, but couldn’t help calling out those MPs who knifed him in the hope of improving their poll rating.

Speaking on a trip to Australia, the former PM said the Tories are currently on course for defeat at the hands of Sir Keir Starmer.

While offering some crumbs of hope to his party, he added: “It would be remiss of me not to make the observation that they are now facing a considerable defeat in the polls, a much bigger differential than when I was leader, by about 20 points”.

The warning came at the same time as new polls found Mr Sunak’s personal ratings have sunk to a new low, on par with those of Mr Johnson’s when he was forced from power.

At the time Tory MPs conspired to oust their most successful leader since Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party trailed Labour by anything from 5 to 12 percentage points in the polls.

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Now Labour consistently has a 20-point average lead over the Conservatives, with one recent poll for GB News giving Labour a 30-point lead.

A YouGov poll out yesterday found the public also has a very unfavourable opinion of Rishi Sunak, with a net score of -49, down 10 percentage points since late November.

Mr Johnson was rated as more popular in the final poll before he resigned, at -46, despite months of scandal and infighting.

Liz Truss still holds the recent record, hitting minus 70 during her brief stint in power.

In an interview with the Spectator, Mr Sunak denied being “tetchy” when failing to get his way – a moniker increasingly being ascribed to the Prime Minister, especially when being pressed at PMQs or press conferences.

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The PM told the magazine there is “nothing tetchy” about him.

He said: “I don’t understand that. There’s nothing tetchy. But I am passionate. When things are not working the way I want them to work, of course, I’m going to be frustrated.”

Despite the warning from Mr Johnson, the former PM did offer some hope to the Conservative Party.

He argued the gap between Labour and the Tories is not “insurmountable”, noting there is a “long time” until the next general election.

He said it had been a “rough week” for Mr Sunak, but he was “so glad they didn’t drop the [Rwanda] Bill”.

He said: “We’ve just got to keep going. And we’ve got a very difficult legal, very complicated legal situation but we have to push on.”

This weekend rumours emerged of a new plan by Mr Johnson to make a sensational return to No. 10.

Insiders told the Mail on Sunday that many Tory backbenchers are now convinced they need to bring Mr Johnson back as the only way to prevent a wipeout.

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