Tories open up a 10-point lead over the opposition Labour - GulfToday

Tories open up a 10-point lead over the opposition Labour


Boris Johnson gestures as he gives a speech on domestic priorities at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester. Agence France-Presse

Britain’s Conservative Party has opened up a 10-point lead over the opposition Labour Party since Boris Johnson took over as prime minister, an opinion poll showed.

The Sunday Times newspaper said the “Boris bounce” had pushed support for Johnson’s Conservatives to 31%, up six percentage points from the previous poll, while Labour was on 21%, up two points.

The newspaper said the poll by YouGov could fuel speculation that Johnson, who faces a Brexit deadlock in Britain’s parliament, will call an early election.

The poll gave the Conservatives their biggest lead over the opposition in five months and it was the first time their support has risen above 30% since April, the Sunday Times said.

The Liberal Democrats were down three points on 20% and the new Brexit Party, led by veteran eurosceptic Nigel Farage, was down four points on 13%, half its peak level in May.

YouGov questioned 1,697 adults on July 25 and 26.

A second poll showed a smaller increase in support for the Conservatives.

The poll by ComRes showed Johnson’s party with 28%, up three points and only one percentage point ahead of Labour.

The ComRes poll, conducted for the Sunday Express newspaper, showed the Conservatives would fall further short of a majority in parliament than they are now.

While preferred as a leader to Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, most voters think Johnson will be a bad prime minister, ComRes said.

“As Boris Johnson begins his premiership we have seen an anticipated bump in Conservative support, generally at the expense of the Brexit Party,” Chris Hopkins, head of politics at ComRes, said.

“However, while the public agree that he should be given the necessary time to deliver Brexit, a majority are sceptical as to how good he may be as prime minister.” If the poll figures were replicated at a national election, the Conservatives would be the largest party but would fall 48 seats short of a majority, ComRes said.

The poll was conducted for the Sunday Express newspaper and interviewed 2,029 British adults on July 24 and 25.

Michael Gove, who has been tasked by new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to boost preparations for a no-deal Brexit, has said that the government is “working on the assumption” that the European Union will not strike a new agreement.

“.... we will exit the EU on October 31. No ifs. No buts. No more delay. Brexit is happening,” Gove wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper.

Former British finance minister Philip Hammond, who quit the government last week before Boris Johnson took over as prime minister, has held secret talks with the opposition Labour Party about how to stop a no-deal Brexit, a newspaper said.

Hammond, who has long opposed leaving the European Union without a transition deal to soften the economic shock, met Labour’s top Brexit official, Kier Starmer, shortly after he quit the government, the Observer said.

The newspaper said Hammond and Starmer agreed to work with other senior lawmakers including former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin to thrash out how best to use parliamentary votes to torpedo a no-deal outcome.

“The political direction of travel under Boris Johnson is clear,” Starmer told the newspaper. “And so it is more important than ever that we build a strong cross-party alliance to stop a no-deal Brexit.” Johnson has said he wants to strike a new Brexit deal with the EU but is prepared to take Britain out of the bloc without one on Oct. 31, if necessary.

He has also said he would not take off the table the possibility of suspending parliament if lawmakers threatened to block a no-deal Brexit.

Staff working for Jacob Rees-Mogg, an ultra-Conservative lawmaker promoted to the British cabinet this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have been given a style guide insisting all correspondence uses imperial measurements.

Employees in his new department have also been ordered to refer to “non-titled males” as esquire − using the abbreviation “Esq.” after names − according to the two-page guide, leaked to ITV News on Friday.

Rees-Mogg, dubbed “the MP for the 18th century” for his love of formality and tradition, was on Wednesday made Leader of the House of Commons, responsible for arranging British government business.


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