Liz Truss almost as unpopular as Prince Andrew as 80% hold ‘unfavourable’ view of PM

Net approval of –70 worse than either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn at peaks of unpopularity

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 18 October 2022 12:28 BST
Liz Truss says 'sorry' for market turmoil but vows to lead Tories into next general election

Liz Truss is almost as popular with the public as Prince Andrew, according to new polling which shows her approval rating has taken a further hit.

YouGov found that only 10 per cent of Britons hold a favourable opinion of the prime minister while 80 per cent hold an unfavourable view – giving her a net approval of –70.

The astonishing decline in her popularity since the disastrous mini-Budget which sparked market turmoil means Ms Truss is nearly as disliked as the Duke of York.

Andrew – disgraced over his relationship to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – is looked upon favourably by 5 per cent of the public and unfavourably by 85 per cent, according to September’s YouGov survey findings.

As Tory MPs deliberate on her future, Ms Truss personal ratings recorded in are lower than reached by either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn at the depths of their unpopularity.

A Redfield & Wilton poll released on Monday afternoon showed Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour an astonishing 36 points ahead of the Tories – the highest lead ever recorded by any pollster for any party.

A majority of Tory members (55 per cent) now want Ms Truss to resign, with 83 per cent members she is doing badly as prime minister.

If the Tory leadership election were being run again now, 55 per cent of Conservative members would back Rishi Sunak, with only 25 per cent prepared to stick with Ms Truss.

But there is more regret over Boris Johnson’s political demise than the summer contest. Mr Johnson tops the list of potential successors members would most like to see (32 per cent support).

Mr Sunak is on 23 per cent, Ben Wallace on 10 per cent and Penny Mordaunt on 9 per cent.

Ms Truss apologised to MPs for her “mistakes” on Monday night – but pledged to lead the Tories into the next general election as she fights for her job.

“I do think it is the mark of an honest politician who does say, yes, I’ve made a mistake,” she told the BBC after her economic agenda was left in tatters by new chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Ms Truss met Tory MPs in the One Nation group on Monday and said she was “sorry” for mistakes made, as many MPs expressed relief Mr Hunt now appeared to be in charge of the economy.

But veteran Tory MP Sir Charles Walker became the latest to call on Ms Truss to quit, saying she has been “catastrophically incompetent”. He said the situation would only be “remedied” with “a new prime minister”.

Defence minister James Heappey admitted that Ms Truss cannot afford to make “many more” mistakes and survive as prime minister.

Asked how many more mistakes she could afford, the Armed Forces minister told Sky News: “Well I suspect, given, how skittish our politics are at the moment, not very many.”

Senior Tory MP Simon Hoare told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “the mild flirtation with tea party libertarianism has been strangled at birth – that has to be seen as a good thing”.

Mr Hoare said there were conversations about Ms Truss’s future “going on across all wings of the party, and I think that possibly is a first. The anxiety-inducing element is there isn’t an obvious path on this”.

The senior figure added: “There has to be a question mark, surely, as to any individual who after 12 years in office … is prepared to run such a high-risk strategy.”

Former minister Liam Fox described Ms Truss as “chastened” and said market forces will be “the judge and jury” of the Tory Party under her leadership.

An ally of Penny Mordaunt held talks with Rishi Sunak last week and suggested he could be Ms Mordaunt’s chancellor as part of a “unity ticket” if the PM is forced out, according to The Times.

But Mr Sunak is said to have rebuffed the “tacit” offer. “None of the other potential candidates carry that economic credibility with them,” a Sunak ally said. “He still wants it.”

This article was amended on 18 October 2022. It previously stated that Liz Truss was less popular than Prince Andrew based on the Duke of York’s YouGov approval ratings. However, this was based on non-current ratings for Prince Andrew. He is currently slightly less popular than Miss Truss, according to the latest YouGov polling.

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