LONDON – Support for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party has plummeted after a series of scandals, with a majority of voters thinking he should now resign, according to a poll published on Saturday.
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.
The Opinium poll for the Observer newspaper found support for the Conservatives, who have held solid leads in polls since winning a landslide victory in a 2019 election, had fallen four points to 32%, while backing for the opposition Labour Party rose to 41%, its biggest lead since 2014.
Johnson’s personal ratings were also at their lowest point since the election, with his approval rating at -35%, down 14 points from two weeks ago. The poll also showed that 57% of voters thought he should resign, up from 48% two weeks ago.
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.
“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.