Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is the strongest candidate to replace the United Kingdom's Boris Johnson if he eventually has to step down as prime minister because of the ongoing investigations to the so called partygate scandal, including the celebration of his birthday in June 2020, in the midst of the lockdown..
An Ipsos MORI poll, conducted for the Evening Standard between January 19 and 25, shows that Sunak is topping the list of “potential alternative Conservative prime ministers.”
“Looking at potential alternative Conservative prime ministers, Rishi Sunak scores best with 33% (up four points) agreeing the chancellor has what it takes, and 34% disagreeing (down four points). This is also an improvement in recent months, although not as strong as his ratings earlier in the pandemic,” reads the report.
Interestingly, Sunak’s numbers are very close to the leader of the opposition, Labor’s Keir Starmer, with 32% agreeing that Starmer could become a good prime minister and 36% disagreeing.
Boris Johnson, despite all the pressure over his alleged participation in Downing Street lockdown parties, has managed to retain third place, thanks to the support of 23% of 1,059 respondents. However, the bad news for Johnson is the fact that 64% of the poll participants do not think he has “what it takes to be a good prime minister.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid shares third place with Johnson but his disapproval figures are not as bitter as his boss’ – he was not considered good enough by 42%.
Nevertheless, for Conservative Party supporters, Johnson remains the most popular by a wide margin: 63% believe he has all the qualities necessary for the top job (12 percentage points ahead of Sunak) with just 25% having the opposite opinion.
Looking at headline voting intentions, the Labour Party has maintained its autumn gains and is leading with 40% of support, while only 31% of respondents said they would vote for the Tories in a general election.
The Independent newspaper said a poll of its readers has revealed that the vast majority of respondents want British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over alleged lockdown-breaching parties.
Readers were asked, “Should Boris Johnson resign?” with respondents given a choice of “Yes,” “No” and “Not sure.” Details of the Partygate allegations were also provided as context, the paper said.
Of the 891 respondents, 797 – or 89.5% – said Yes, the prime minister should resign.
The poll was launched after Johnson apologized for attending events during lockdown but insisted that he didn’t think he had broken his own rules. The survey ran for two weeks following Johnson’s remarks in the House of Commons.
Further revelations have emerged in the Partygate scandal since the poll was launched. The PM acknowledged last week that he attended a celebration for his birthday at Downing Street in June 2020. It was reported that the prime minister received a cake and that the event was attended by up to 30 people.
The Metropolitan Police have also since opened their own investigation into possible breaches of coronavirus laws.
On Monday, the Cabinet Office said senior civil servant Sue Gray “provided an update on her investigations to the prime minister.” Ms Gray had been asked to probe the events at Downing Street and judge whether the PM had broken his own rules.
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