Boris allies lash out at ‘pathetic’ Liz Truss over leadership jockeying as poll shows Tory support at lowest level since 2019 after sleaze and ‘Partygate’ shambles
- Boris Johnson allies sniping at Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for leadership jostling
- YouGov poll found Tories at their lowest level of support since September 2019
- Dramatic turnaround over recent months amid sleaze and Partygate furores
- Mr Johnson has been facing Tory mutiny over response to the Omicron strain
Brutal briefing against the Foreign Secretary has emerged after a series of ministers let it be known that they opposed tough new Covid curbs.
Ramping up restrictions was considered at a tense Cabinet meeting on Monday, but Downing Street sources have complained that Ms Truss only spoke briefly – despite her position getting widespread media attention.
She is widely regarded by MPs as ‘on manoeuvres’, with Rishi Sunak also accused of positioning in case a vacancy emerges in the top job.
‘It’s amazing how many people seem to have spoken up who didn’t actually say anything,’ one senior Downing Street source told the Times.
Another government source said: ‘What industries is she trying to protect? It smells like she’s trying to heavily position herself as a Conservative libertarian … It reeks of desperation and it’s all a bit pathetic.’
The clashes emerged as YouGov research showed Labour has opened up a six-point advantage after a miserable run of allegations about sleaze and lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.
Boris Johnson ‘s allies have kicked back at Liz Truss over ‘pathetic’ leadership jockeying
YouGov research showed Labour has opened up a six-point advantage after a miserable run of allegations about sleaze and lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street
Keir Starmer’s party was on 36 per cent, while the Conservatives had slipped to just 30 per cent.
The last time the Tories were so low in the polls was after Mr Johnson was accused of illegally proroguing parliament in September 2019.
The bleak figures, with the latest survey carried out yesterday, emerged as Mr Johnson reels from the rout in the North Shropshire by-election last week.
He suffered another major setback at the weekend as ally Lord Frost dramatically quit slating Covid curbs and high taxes.
Mr Johnson is also facing pressure to push through new restrictions to combat the surging Omicron variant, which would be deeply unpopular with many of his own MPs and ministers.
Other YouGov research has suggested the proportion of the public who think Mr Johnson is performing well has slumped to 23 per cent, while those saying he is doing badly has soared to 71 per cent.
The net rating of minus 48 is the lowest since he entered No10, and a dramatic turnaround from May, when he had an overall positive score. At that point 48 per cent approved of his performance, and 47 per cent disapproved.
Downing Street will also be worried about evidence that Keir Starmer is opening up a lead on the ‘best PM’ metric, and is now preferred to Mr Johnson by 33 per cent to 23 per cent – although Labour is still not widely seen as ready for government.
Boris Johnson has been struggling to shake free of months of allegations about sleaze and lockdown-busting parties, as well as suffering Tory mutinies over ‘Partygate’
YouGov found the proportion who think Mr Johnson is performing well has slumped to 23 per cent, while those saying he is doing badly has soared to 71 per cent