‘Polls spell concern for Tories’ Boris warned ‘brand damage to linger’ after Partygate

James Johnson says 'Polls spell concern for Conservatives'

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson should not see the public’s attention moving on from Partygate as “good news”, political commentator James Johnson has warned. The Conservative leader’s downward spiral in the polls has been ongoing since June 2021 – and is not likely to stop, Mr Johnson added. Speaking to GB News, he warned: “That should not be read as good news for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.

“Because although people are keen to move on, the brand damage that Boris Johnson has taken on his trust, on his competence, on his ability to get things done”, James Johnson said.

“That is going to linger despite the Partygate moving out of the news.

“We saw that happening February-March.

“Remember, after the invasion of Ukraine, Boris Johnson was publicly backed by many of his MPs, praised by the most popular man on earth in President Zelensky and still, public views of him did not shift deep down.”

Boris Johnson’s approval rating rose from 22 to 33 percent between mid-January and early March, according to YouGov, before seeing another downward turn amid the new Partygate revelations.

James Johnson continued: “So usually in the midterm of a government, you do get government slipping behind in the polls.

“And over the last few years, we’ve seen that happen particularly in that 2010 to 2015 Parliament, we saw Ed Miliband mount a big lead over David Cameron in the polls.

“But obviously, David Cameron went on to win the majority. However, I do think this is a bit different.

“And I think these polls do spell concern for the Conservatives.

“One reason is that, unlike David Cameron, Boris Johnson is behind Keir Starmer on who’s viewed as the best prime minister by the public.

“And also, you see that sort of views against Boris Johnson are much more negative than they were on David Cameron at the time.”

“And the other thing is, often parties bounce back from midterm woes by saying: ‘here’s our long-term plan. Here’s why things were bad then. So that they pay off eventually when it comes to the next election.’

“I’m not seeing – I don’t think voters are seeing – what that long-term plan is at the moment from the Conservatives.

“I think he’s struggling because so much of the focus remains on Partygate.

“And I think Boris Johnson was very keen, Number 10 were very keen, to put that to bed last week.

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“And I think originally on the day of the Sue Gray report, maybe they had a chance of doing so.

“But we’ve seen these news stories, potential new parties, potential new edits to the report coming out of the weekend. And it just shows the difficulty of getting past that.”

“And I think this pressure is going to mount and mount and mount”, James Johnson warned.

“The more the MPs and government ministers go out on the airwaves, go out on shows like your own, and they find themselves having to defend this over and over again, that’s more time than not spending forwarding the interests of their constituents.

“That’s more time than not spending backing bold policies and reforms.

“So, I think this is going to unfortunately for everybody – because a lot of voters are bored of Partygate as well – this is going to stick around”, James Johnson concluded. 

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