Seven in ten Brits believe Boris Johnson should resign his post, according to a new YouGov poll of thousands of UK adults, while a majority of people who voted Conservative in 2019 also want him gone.
The Prime Minister’s tenure has been called into question after two members of his Cabinet – Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak – handed in their resignations earlier today in a scathing indictment of Johnson’s leadership.
YouGov’s poll found 69 per cent of people believe the PM should step down – up 11 per cent from June 9 – a sentiment shared by more than half (54 per cent) of respondents who voted Conservative in 2019’s general election.
Just 34 per cent of Conservative voters wanted Johnson out on June 9 just days after he narrowly survived a no-confidence vote, suggesting that today’s Cabinet resignations represent the final straw for many Tory supporters.
Only 18 per cent of Brits overall believe Johnson should remain in charge, but despite the widespread calls for his resignation, just one in five YouGov poll respondents actually believe the Prime Minister will heed them.
The Prime Minister was already fighting an uphill struggle to remain in No 10 as his handling of the row over scandal-hit former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher became the latest issue to raise questions over his judgment.
YouGov’s Associate Director of Political and Social Research Patrick English said of the poll results: ‘Tonight’s figures make for dire reading for Boris Johnson.
‘With over half of the very people who put him into office in 2019 now wanting him out, he is losing the battle for support not just with the general public, but his own party’s voters.’
A flustered Prime Minster Boris Johnson returns to 10 Downing Street, after both Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid resigned
The Prime Minister’s tenure has been called into question after two members of his Cabinet – Health Secretary Sajid Javid (R) and Chancellor Rishi Sunak (L) – handed in their resignations earlier today in a scathing indictment of Johnson’s leadership
Sunak and Javid sent their resignation letters to Johnson within minutes of each other, both of which took aim at his ability to run an administration that adhered to standards.
Sunak said: ‘The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously’, adding: ‘I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning,’ in a humiliating blow to the PM.
Johnson scrambled to appoint former businessman and current education minister, Nadhim Zahawi, as his new finance minister, and instructed his Chief of Staff Steve Barclay to take over as Health Secretary.
The blow comes just one month after Johnson barely survived a confidence vote which saw 41 per cent of his own MPs withdraw their support.
The twin resignations of Mr Javid and Mr Sunak mean Mr Johnson’s position is now perilous, but Cabinet ministers including Dominic Raab, Liz Truss, Michael Gove, Therese Coffey and Ben Wallace indicated they would be staying in the Government.
However, Bim Afolami quit as Tory vice-chair live on TV, Theo Clarke and Andrew Murrison resigned as trade envoys and ministerial aides Jonathan Gullis, Saqib Bhatti, Nicola Richards and Virginia Crosbie left their roles.
The Prime Minister’s fate may ultimately lie with backbench MPs if the Tory 1922 Committee’s rules are changed to allow another confidence vote within 12 months.
Johnson (L) instructed his Chief of Staff Steve Barclay (R) to take over as Health Secretary
Britain’s newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi leaves from 10 Downing Street in central London on July 5, 2022 following his appointment
Former Minister of State for Universities of the United Kingdom, Michelle Donelan, is now Secretary of State for Education
A sign that the Prime Minister was in danger came with a hastily-arranged broadcast interview in his Commons office.
He tried to contain the row over Pincher after it emerged he had forgotten about being told of previous allegations of ‘inappropriate’ conduct.
Pincher quit as deputy chief whip last week following claims that he groped two men at the upmarket Carlton Club, but Johnson knew about allegations against him as far back as 2019.
The Prime Minister acknowledged he should have sacked Pincher when he was found to have behaved inappropriately when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.
Johnson is pictured alongside disgraced former Tory party whip Chris Pincher
Asked if that was an error, Johnson said: ‘I think it was a mistake and I apologise for it. In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do.
‘I apologise to everybody who has been badly affected by it. I want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this Government for anybody who is predatory or who abuses their position of power.’
MPs were told that Johnson had not recalled being told about the earlier 2019 allegations.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, the then foreign secretary, gave Pincher a dressing down over his ‘inappropriate’ conduct ‘in no uncertain terms’ at the time and the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team was also involved.
No 10 had initially claimed Johnson had not been aware of any ‘specific allegations’, after Mr Pincher’s dramatic resignation.
By Monday that line had evolved to acknowledge the Prime Minister was aware of ‘allegations that were either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint’.