Poll finds Tory voters back police probe into Boris Johnson

Exclusive: Survey released as Lib Dems call for PM to be put on gardening leave

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 26 January 2022 11:39
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Six in 10 Conservative voters (59 per cent) back the police investigation into allegations that parties at 10 Downing Street breached lockdown rules, according to a new survey.

The polling figures were released as Liberal Democrats called for prime minister Boris Johnson to be put on gardening leave until the Metropolitan Police inquiry is concluded – a process which could take months.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said it was necessary to remove the PM from Downing Street to ensure he cannot “try and abuse his position to get himself off the hook”.

The new poll, commissioned by Lib Dems, was conducted just before Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced a police probe on Tuesday.

It found that three-quarters of voters agreed the Met should formally investigate the PM over breaches of Covid regulations at No 10 – including 59 per cent of those who identified themselves as Conservative supporters.

Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said: “Britain played by the rules Boris Johnson wrote, but couldn’t be bothered to stick to himself. The British public now want him to be held to account.

"Bereaved families and all those who sacrificed so much in this pandemic deserve to see justice carried out.

“This disgraceful soap opera needs to end once and for all. It is time for Conservative MPs to do the decent thing and sack Boris Johnson."

Mr Carmichael said that until the “partygate” inquiry is concluded, Mr Johnson should go home and step back from official work, leaving his deputy Dominic Raab to take over running the day-to-day affairs of the government.

Citing warnings – revealed by The Independent – that Downing Street staff may seek to withhold evidence in order to avoid damage to their careers, he said it was standard practice for those subject to investigation to be put on leave to prevent them attempting to influence the outcome.

“Since Boris Johnson is such a fan of spending time in his garden, it’s only fitting that he be placed on gardening leave and leave Number 10 whilst the police investigate,” said Mr Carmichael.

“This will ensure he cannot try and abuse his position to get himself off the hook.

“Refusing to do so will show both the Conservatives’ utter contempt for the public and erode trust in this government even further.”

- Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,310 UK adults between 21 and 23

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