Keir Starmer takes a NINE POINT lead over Boris Johnson in latest poll

Keir Starmer takes a NINE POINT lead over Boris Johnson in latest poll as Government faces fury over Downing Street Christmas party

  • Backing for Labour rose to 41 percent, while Tory support fell to 32 percent
  • Johnson’s popularity also fell sharply, with 59 percent saying they disapproved
  • Labour leader Keir Starmer’s approval fell by two percent, but he took a clear lead over his rival on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister
  • Labour’s nine-point lead is highest from any pollster since May 2019 
  • Comes amid a string of scandals including No 10 Christmas party fiasco

Boris Johnson’s popularity fell to a new low today as polls showed Labour taking a nine point lead over the Tories after a series of scandals and amid furious backlash over a Christmas party that was allegedly held in Downing Street last year. 

The poll of voting intentions, carried out by Opinium Research for The Observer, found that 41 percent would vote for Keir Starmer’s Labour (an increase of 3 percent), while just 32 percent (a decrease of four percent) would vote for the Tories.

Mr Johnson’s popularity fell sharply, with 59 percent saying they disapproved of the job he is doing, and just 24 percent approving – a net score of minus 35 percent. 

Boris Johnson’s popularity fell to a new low today as polls showed Labour taking a nine point lead over the Tories after a series of scandals and amid furious backlash over a Christmas party that was allegedly held in Downing Street last year. Pictured: Mr Johnson arriving at Hospital after announcing the brith of this daughter

Opposition leader Keir Starmer’s approval also fell by two percent, but he took a clear lead over his rival on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister, with 29 percent choosing the Labour leader and 22 percent picking Mr Johnson.

However, both lost out to the ‘none of the above’ option, which was picked by 35 percent of the 1,175 likely voters that were surveyed.

Johnson has found himself facing criticism on a number of fronts in recent weeks from the funding of the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat to a claim he intervened to ensure pets were evacuated from Kabul during the chaotic Western withdrawal in August.

The most damaging has been reports that a party was held at Downing Street during a 2020 Christmas lockdown when such festivities were banned, with a video emerging this week which showed staff laughing and joking about it.

On whether the Prime Minister should resign, 57 percent agreed, up from 53 percent earlier in the week, with just 26 percent saying he should stay. A third of those who said they voted Tory in the last election said he should step down. 

There has been growing talk of dissatisfaction with Johnson’s leadership among Conservative lawmakers according to political commentators, and it is expected dozens will vote next week against his plan for new measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. 

Labour’s nine point lead is the largest from any pollster since May 2019, and the biggest lead from Opinium since February 2014, it said.

The poll of voting intentions (pictured), carried out by Opinium Research for The Observer, found that 41 percent would vote Labour (an increase of 3 percent), while just 32 percent (a decrease of four percent) would vote for the Tories

When asked which of the three Covid-related scandals that have plagued senior ministers over the last two years shocked them most, 51 percent said the allegations of the No. 10 Christmas party in December 2020.

This was followed by 28 percent who said the Dominic Cummings Barnard Castle trip, and 21 percent who said the Matt Hancock/Gina Coladangelo affair, that saw the then-health minister resign in disgrace.

There has been growing talk of dissatisfaction with Johnson’s leadership among Conservative lawmakers according to political commentators

It is expected dozens will vote next week against his plan for new measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

‘The findings of our latest poll are certainly dramatic, with a devastating fall in both support for the Conservatives and approval for the prime minister,’ said Adam Drummond, Head of Political Polling at Opinium.

He cautioned that Johnson was the ‘king of comebacks’ who had recovered from difficult polling situations before.

‘However, unless the Conservatives can turn these numbers around quickly, backbenchers might start asking if the party is over for the prime minister,’ he said.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer’s (pictured in the House of Commons last month) approval also fell by two percent, but he took a clear lead over his rival on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister, with 29 percent choosing the Labour leader and 22 percent picking Mr Johnson

Meanwhile, anxiety in the Tory party has been heightened by the loss of three council seats in Rotherham and Bracknell in the week, with another three in Tonbridge also looking doomed. 

There is a mood of ‘despair’ over the prospects for holding the previously rock-solid North Shropshire Commons seat next week, with senior figures telling MailOnline they will be ‘astonished’ if the Lib Dems do not win the by-election triggered by Owen Paterson’s resignation.

The warning signs will heap pressure on the PM – whose wife Carrie has just given birth to their second child – to steady the ship after months of crisis over sleaze and bungled U-turns.

Ex-Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchel warned yesterday that the ‘mood of the Conservative Party is sulphurous and we need to see some grip from No10’.

‘The history of the Tory Party is littered with ruthlessness on these occasions but I’m confident that Boris will get a grip,’ he told the BBC. 

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, is treasurer of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, delivered a thinly-veiled warning this morning, saying that Mr Johnson must stabilise the ship over Christmas.

‘He’s got to come clean on a lot of the issues that you mentioned in your opening news,’ the veteran MP said.

‘We’re all about to go for a Christmas break. If he comes back in the new year refreshed, able to differentiate between his private life and public life, and clarify all the issues and then start to do the really big issues that this country needs – restoring the NHS, dealing with carbon emissions and Cop26, how we deal with the economy, helping businesses – we can really get onto that agenda away from these other, sort of, personal issues, then I think he’s fine.

‘But if we go on having these – what I call personal issues, issues of judgment by the Prime Minister – then I think that’s a very different scenario.’

YouGov found three-quarters of voters believe there was a Christmas party in which rules were broken – nearly the same proportion think Mr Johnson lied about it afterwards. 

More worryingly, one fifth of Tory voters say the government’s response to the allegations made them trust it less.

Survation said of its research for the Daily Mirror: ‘In terms of vote share, were these types of figures seen at the next General Election a Labour lead of this size would easily make Labour the largest party in the Commons with over 300 seats, albeit short of an overall majority.’  

On the by-election hopes, a senior Tory source said: ‘I would be astonished if the Lib Dems don’t win North Shropshire. And that is despite the fact it is a heavily Leave constituency.’

Mr Johnson looks to be facing a perfect storm with the row over his grace-and-favour flat refurbishment reigniting, allegations of lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, and a huge Tory revolt over Covid measures. 

The Prime Minister relented and allowed an apology of sorts when video emerged of aides joking about holding such a bash last year despite repeated official denials. 

Mr Johnson looks to be facing a perfect storm with the row over his grace-and-favour flat refurbishment reigniting, allegations of lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, and a huge Tory revolt over Covid measures

The Daily Mirror was first to report last week that a festive bash took place in No 10 on December 18 last year as London was under Tier 3 restrictions.

Those measures explicitly banned Christmas lunches or parties where they are ‘a primarily social activity’, as a Government Twitter account pointed out to the public a day earlier.

As further sources came forward to confirm the party took place, reports said staff drank alcohol, wore Christmas jumpers and even organised Secret Santa gifts. 

Downing Street bluntly rejected the allegations, with official statements insisting ‘there was no Christmas party’ and no rules were broken.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson told reporters: ‘I am satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.’

Hours after the Prime Minister tried to quell allegations of wrongdoing, ITV News published damning footage that gave increased weight to reports of the party.

Leaked video showed a mock press conference held between Downing Street aides and Allegra Stratton, then Mr Johnson’s press secretary, on December 22.

In the bombshell video a No 10 aide asks a question about ‘a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night’, to which Allegra Stratton laughed and replied: ‘I went home.’ Downing Street

In the rehearsal for televised briefings that were ultimately axed, they discussed a supposedly ‘fictional’ Downing Street party on ‘Friday’, which would have been December 18. 

After the video was made public, Mr Johnson warned there will be ‘disciplinary action’ for any members of staff who broke the rules, but the first departure over the affair was not over attendance at any party.

In a tearful statement outside her north London home, Ms Stratton apologised over her remarks that ‘seemed to make light of the rules’.

‘To all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and who struggled with your businesses, I am truly sorry and this afternoon I am offering my resignation to the Prime Minister,’ she added.

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