Boris Johnson approval rating worst in cabinet – what happens next for the PM?

Boris Johnson: Andrew Marr predicts more 'blood in the water'

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Boris Johnson came close to the chopping block last night as mutinous Conservative MPs made an effort to oust him as Prime Minister and party leader. While he may have won the vote, recent polling data suggests that the Prime Minister may not be able to hold on to office for much longer as his approval rating has taken a major hit in recent weeks and months.

According to Conservative Home’s most recent poll, Boris Johnson now has the worst approval rating of his entire cabinet.

The monthly poll last published on May 30 found his approval rating now stands at minus 15.

Mr Johnson’s rankings in the table have varied hugely in recent months, as in March his ratings soared to +33.1 in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, the most recent finding by Conservative Home is not the Prime Minister’s lowest ever popularity score, having previously stood at a record low of -34.

In a more recent snap survey of 1,058 respondents taken on June 6 after the vote of no-confidence was announced, Conservative Home found 55 percent of its member panel believe Mr Johnson should be removed or resign as Prime Minister, with 41 percent saying no and three percent saying they didn’t know.

To make matters worse, on a national scale, the Tories have been performing catastrophically in national voter intention polls.

The ruling party is currently failing to take the lead in any national poll, with YouGov’s most recent poll putting Labour eight percentage points ahead of the Tories on 39.

Sir Keir Starmer is also leading the polling factory’s “best prime minister” category, with 33 percent of respondents in a May 25 tracker believing the Labour leader would be their first choice to lead the country, in comparison to Mr Johnson’s 25 percent.

In the no-confidence vote last night, 148 Tory MPs voted to remove the beleaguered Prime Minister from office in what his allies have admitted is the “beginning of the end”. The rebellion amounted to 41 percent of all Tory MPs – a bigger rebellion than that seen in Theresa May’s confidence vote in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, however, Mr Johnson stuck to his guns in the aftermath of the vote, claiming the result was “extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive” and that it “enables us to move on, to unite and to focus on delivery”.

While the Prime Minister passed the test, it is hardly a ringing endorsement of his leadership, which has been mired by continual scandals ever since it emerged lockdown busting parties were held in Downing Street and Whitehall.

And the stark divide between Tory MPs now seems to be threatening to derail any hopes of getting the Conservative party back on track.

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What’s next for Boris Johnson?

Two important by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton on June 23, and losses will further the case for last night’s rebels by showing Mr Johnson is an electoral liability.

Conservative campaign strategists are said to be desperate to flip the narrative, looking to refocus on work to tackle the cost of living crisis as well as supporting Ukraine in its efforts to drive Russia out.

Mr Johnson has poured cold water on the suggestion that he could call a snap general election, saying he was “certainly not interested” in the idea.

Mr Johnson is due to meet with his cabinet on Tuesday, which still appears to be united behind the Prime Minister.

Labour are unsurprisingly growing in confidence, and are urging Mr Johnson’s ethics advisor to be given the freedom to launch their own investigations into potential breaches of ministerial code.

In its motion, to be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, Labour will ask all MPs to vote to adopt a package of recommendations put forward by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in a report last year.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Labour is urging MPs of all parties to support this independent, cross-party package of reforms to tackle decaying standards.

“If they fail to back this move to clean up politics, it is they who will have to look their constituents in the eye.”

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