Politics

‘Lots of other big problems’ Boris Johnson warned polls plunge ‘difficult’ to recover from

Former minister has filed a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson

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Pollster Chris Curtis claimed that Tory MPs could actually embrace the fact that the increase in energy prices has become the major talking point as it temporarily takes the sting out of partygate. However Mr Curtis, who is the Head of Political polling at Opinium Research, insisted that people are in no mood to forgive Boris Johnson,  a mood reflected in the startling recent poll slump. Partygate allegations were the final blow to the Conservative Party’s reputation, Mr Curtis claimed, but lots of Britons had already been dissatisfied with several aspects of the Conservative Party’s record, such as the economy and high tax rates.

In an interview with TalkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Mr Curtis said: “I was thinking how interesting it is that we’re talking about it being a good thing for the Government that a new story has shifted on to energy prices going up.

“And I think it’s actually quite a good point.

“What we started to see even before partygate is the Government’s approval rating.

“Boris Johnson’s approval rating started to decline for lots of other reasons, people’s taxes, the economy wasn’t necessarily going particularly well then and then the partygate stuff happened and it really hit the Government’s approval ratings.”

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The pollster however noted that even if the Tory MPs managed to contain the partygate effect after the police inquiry, they would still face a number of huge issues.

Many voters in recent weeks have admitted confidence in the Conservative Party has taken a severe blow and it will prove a daunting task to win those feeling alienated by the party over again.

Mr Curtis said: “One of the big questions at the moment is can the Government evolve from this story and get the partygate headlines out of the news?

“Even then it’s got lots of other big problems.

Former minister has filed a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson

“It’s no longer completely trusted to run the economy which has been the key Conservative strength for the last decades.”

With Labour currently ahead of the Conservatives in areas such as whether people think they are better suited to improving the country’s economy and their belief that they are a low-tax party, things are looking more and more tricky for Mr Johnson and company.

Mr Curtis added: “It means that they are going into this pretty harsh crisis where people are really struggling to pay their bills and they are not trusted on some of the key issues that the country is facing.

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“That’s dented their reputation and lots of these other issues as well.

“But I think it will make life very difficult in the next few months even if they somehow manage to move beyond partygate which is far from certain.”

Fellow pollster Professor John Curtice predicted that it will be “very difficult” for Mr Johnton to “reverse” the public opinion, claiming that he is “fighting a losing battle” to stay on his job.

Prof Curtice said: “Political parties can recover from electoral trouble. But leaders rarely recover, once a leader becomes very unpopular. It’s very difficult to reverse.

“So far, Boris Johnson is fighting a losing battle in persuading people that he did not break the rules.

“The art of rhetoric, at which he is brilliant, may not be sufficient to enable him to restore his reputation.”

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