Boris Johnson 'taking the mickey' says Emily Thornberry
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This comes as Boris Johnson is facing a mounting leadership crisis amid the ‘Partygate scandal’. A Conservative Home poll of 1,041 Tory party members saw 53.4 percent of them say Mr Johnson should resign. The January 15 poll was conducted using the same group of party members that gave the Prime Minister a 93 point approval rating shortly after the general election.
Numerous Tory MPs, including Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross and former Brexit Minister David Davis, have also publicly called for Mr Johnson’s resignation.
There has been growing speculation over who might be best positioned to replace the ailing Prime Minister, but speaking to Express.co.uk the pollster firmly backed Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
He claimed that Mr Sunak, “the best known of the cabinet”, has the “immense” popularity “that the Prime Minister is currently lacking”.
The Chancellor has recently overtaken Ms Truss in the polls as the favourite to succeed Mr Johnson.
A YouGov poll from January 10, which spoke to 1,005 Tory members, showed 33 percent of them wanting Mr Sunak to replace Mr Johnson.
The Foreign Secretary is eight points behind, with 25 percent of the group supporting her.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Sir John said: “Who is going to take over from Johnson?
“Well the answer is Rishi Sunak. I’ve seen the polls this week.”
He added: “Sunak is now ahead in the polls.
“Sunak is the best known of the cabinet.
“He is also immensely popular amongst the wider public.
“Personal popularity isn’t everything but he certainly has the personal popularity that the PM is currently certainly lacking.”
But he said that Mr Sunak’s popularity could lead those who support his rival, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, to try and delay a leadership race.
He said: “There is every reason for those who support Liz Truss not to pull the trigger.
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“It could be one of the things to Johnson’s advantage.
“Because with a broader political argument, people will say ‘where do we go from here?’, and those who would prefer not to have to transfer for whatever reason – or those who would prefer to have Liz Truss – won’t necessarily be keen on an early contest perhaps.”
The Prime Minister is facing increasing heat over the allegations of rule-breaking in Downing Street during lockdown over the last year.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray is currently leading an inquiry into the allegations, the findings of which are due to be published over the coming days.
The Metropolitan Police have also launched their own investigation into the parties, with Commissioner Cressida Dick saying they were looking into “potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations” in Downing Street and Whitehall since 2020.
In the most recent development, the Prime Minister was accused of having a birthday party in No 10 Downing Street during Lockdown.
But defending him, Tory MP Conor Burns claimed that Mr Johnson was simply “ambushed with a cake”.
ITV News reported that up to 30 people, including Mr Johnson, attended the event in the Cabinet Room and ate picnic food from Marks and Spencer.
In response, No 10 said staff had “gathered briefly” to “wish the Prime Minister a happy birthday”, adding that Mr Johnson was present “for less than 10 minutes”.
There have been numerous other allegations of parties across Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown, including a BYOB party organised by the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds.
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