British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s luck has run out
But a recent YouGov survey for The Times newspaper, taken before Johnson’s apology, showed support for the Tories fell to its lowest level in nine years, placing the party – also known as Tories – 10 points away from a seemingly ineligible Labor party only a few years ago.
He also confirmed other recent polls which showed two-thirds of Britons wanted the Prime Minister to step down.
But the real pressure will come from within his own party – a surprising change in fortunes for a proven election winner like Johnson. The mutiny was led by Scottish Tories who have long sat in the moderate wing of their party.
Others have recently joined the anti-Johnson movement.
“The Prime Minister’s position has become or is becoming untenable,” Sir Roger Gale, a Conservative MP from the east of England, said in a telephone interview with NBC News. “Things have come to a head. I think it’s an accumulation – culminating in something that we all feel very strongly. “
Gale called Johnson’s watered-down apology “rude” and compared his own family’s isolation during the pandemic to the parties at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The scandal comes at a time when Johnson may have exceeded his usefulness to his party, said Steven McCabe, associate professor at Birmingham City University.
Johnson’s resounding electoral success in 2019 follows his ‘Get Brexit Done’ pledge to leave the European Union once and for all.
But the fact that Johnson actually got Brexit may have made it consumable rather than essential.
“I think what we are starting to see is the kind of break in the ranks,” said McCabe, adding that what the Conservatives are most interested in is retaining power. “And of course you don’t hold onto power with a leader who sort of seems to be the man of yesterday.”
With Johnson’s decline in popularity, the knives have come out and all eyes are on his rivals in his government, especially Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Tellingly, Sunak was not present at Johnson’s apology on Wednesday. And the two popular conservative leaders waited hours before publish lukewarm statements of support to the Prime Minister.