More than half of voters think Boris Johnson should resign over No 10 party claims, find polls

More than three-quarters say prime minister should apologise

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 08 December 2021 15:25
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<p>Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, London, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament (PA)</p>

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, London, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament (PA)

More than half of voters believe Boris Johnson should resign as prime minister over allegations of a lockdown-breaking Christmas party at 10 Downing Street, according to two separate polls conducted as the PM announced an inquiry into the claims.

And in worrying results for the prime minister, one in three of those who voted Conservative at the last general election in 2019 said he should stand down.

Some 54 per cent of voters - and 33 per cent of Tory supporters - taking part in a Savanta ComRes snap poll said the PM should quit, along with 53 per cent in an Opinium survey, including 35 per cent of Tory voters.

Some 63 per cent of those in the Opinium poll said Mr Johnson was not telling the truth about what happened, against just 12 per cent who thought he was. Sixty-four per cent believe that the alleged 18 December party in No 10 took place, while only nine per cent continue to believe it did not.

More than three-quarters of those taking part in the Savanta poll said the PM should apologise for the party (76 per cent). The figure was up 13 points since a similar question at the weekend and included more than two-thirds of Conservative voters (67 per cent).

Some 79 per cent said the PM’s former press secretary Allegra Stratton should resign after being filmed laughing about the incident.

And - on the day when Mr Johnson is thought likely to introduce tougher rules on crowded venues and new guidance to work from home - three in 10 (29 per cent) said they were less likely to follow government Covid restrictions as a result of the scandal.

Answering questions in the House of Commons today, Mr Johnson apologised for any offence caused by a video of No 10 staff discussing an alleged party and the impression it might have given that they did not take Covid restrictions seriously.

But he offered no apology for the gathering itself and declined to say whether he believed that it took place or not, telling MPs only that he had been assured it did not and had asked cabinet secretary Simon Case to establish the truth.

Respondents to the Savanta ComRes poll were asked whether the PM should resign “now”, rather than depending on the outcome of the Case inquiry.

The 54 per cent figure was higher than the 50 per cent who said he should quit over claims that he had said he was ready to see “bodies pile high” to avoid another lockdown.

Some 83 per cent said that the public and those who had lost loved ones to Covid had been let down.

Savanta ComRes political research director Chris Hopkins said: “As the prime minister continues to refuse to acknowledge the party or admit that there was a breach of Covid guidelines, it’s clear from this poll that the public are taking a dim view of the scandal, with an overwhelming majority saying that the government have let the public, the NHS and, crucially, those who have lost loved ones to Covid, down.

“However, while many believe the PM and his former press secretary should apologise for their role in the story, far fewer feel he should resign and, interestingly, a sizable proportion of around two in five said that a fictional person, put into the poll as a control, should resign for their, ultimately non-existent, role in the story.

“While the PM may have to add forgiveness to his Christmas wish list, he may still have time to do enough to avoid being on Santa’s naughty list this year – but it does seem to feel as though the PM’s rope is shortening after each governmental mishap.”

Elsewhere in the poll, the vast majority (72 per cent) say that the Metropolitan Police should investigate any wrongdoing or illegal activity in reference to the alleged party.

• Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,036 UK adults on 8 December 2021.

Opinium carried out an online survey of 1,116 adults on 7 and 8 December.

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