Boris Johnson’s approval rating drops to all-time low – as it happened


Boris Johnson’s popularity as PM has slumped to an all-time low as the public lose confidence in the scandal-hit Tory leader, a YouGov survey has found.

Less than a quarter of people have a favourable view of Mr Johnson, while 66 per cent said they hold a negative opinion of him, according to the pollster. It comes amid numerous crises engulfing his government, including allegations that several Christmas parties were held at Downing Street last year during lockdown.

Although the PM’s net favourability dropped by 11 points to -42, Labour leader Keir Starmer did not appear to profit from his opponent’s fall from grace, as his own popularity rating fell by 1 point to -11. However, several recent polls suggest that Labour has extended its lead over the Tories in light of the controversies.

Meanwhile, a Conservative peer has said that his ministerial colleagues are “definitely” speaking about how to oust the PM. “Boris, more than anyone, knows his position depends on being seen as an electoral asset,” Lord Barwell said. “If over time that goes, he really is in trouble.”


Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage.

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 07:56


Calls grow for new probe into Downing Street flat revamp

Opposition parties have called for a further probe into Boris Johnson’s luxury refit of his Downing Street flat, with Labour’s Angela Rayner accusing him of having “lied” about donations received for the work.

So did Sir Alistair Graham, a former chair of the committee of standards in public life, who urged Lord Geidt to investigate the matter.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has more details:

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 07:58


PM faces Tory rebellion over Plan B Covid measures

Boris Johnson has had a torrid week: he has lost one of his key advisers and allegations about last year’s Downing Street parties are still in the headlines.

Amid this pressure, the prime minister also faces a rebellion from his own party’s backbenchers over the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Stroud’s Siobhan Baillie said she saw “no evidence” that vaccine passports had stopped the spread of Covid, while Anthony Mangnall of Totnes said they were “farcical, unnecessary and impractical”.

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 08:15


‘Very difficult time’ for Boris Johnson, warns senior Tory MP

A senior Tory MP has said the prime minister must return “refreshed” after the Christmas recess.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the treasurer of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, also urged Boris Johnson to “come clean on a lot of issues”, including possible breaches of coronavirus restrictions in Downing Street last year.

It is a “really a very, very difficult time for the prime minister at the moment”, the Cotswolds MP told LBC.

“We’re all about to go for a Christmas break. If he comes back in the new year refreshed, able to differentiate between his private life and public life, and clarify all the issues and then start to do the really big issues that this country needs – restoring the NHS, dealing with carbon emissions and Cop26, how we deal with the economy, helping businesses – we can really get onto that agenda away from these other, sort of, personal issues, then I think he’s fine,” he said.

“But if we go on having these – what I call personal issues, issues of judgment by the prime minister – then I think that’s a very different scenario.”

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 08:29


Latest on Downing Street parties scandal

The latest government remarks on the Christmas party scandal are in:

Small business minister Paul Scully said he preferred to use the word “gathering” when speaking about the alleged events, suggesting that parties imply “balloons and poppers and these kind of things”.

“It suggests that there’s big invitations going out and lots of people coming in from out…from elsewhere and those kind of things,” he added.

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 08:46


Labour takes four point lead in polls

Labour has taken the lead in the polls after the Tories have slumped by three points, the latest YouGov poll shows.

In a survey commissioned by The Times, Keir’s Starmer’s party jumped by four points amid the various crises engulfing the government.

The Labour leader told The Telegraph this week that Boris Johnson was “unfit” to rule the country.

“So the question – and this is really the question that I think is central now – for the cabinet, for ministers and for all Tory MPs, frankly, is are they prepared to endure the next two years of increased degradation of themselves and their party, being put out to defend the indefensible and bringing themselves and their party into further disrepute?” he said.

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 09:01


Trust in government ‘hanging in the balance’, says shadow health secretary

The shadow health secretary has warned that “trust in the entire system of government is hanging in the balance”.

Wes Streeting referred to scandals like the Owen Paterson debacle, in which the prime minister tried to help his friend avoid suspension for lobbying.

“It goes back to when Boris Johnson tried to destroy the entire parliamentary standard system to get his mate off the hook,” the Labour MP told the BBC.

He added: “We don’t start changing the laws or changing the rules to suit the behaviour of the prime minister. The law is the law. It must be applied equally.

“And this is the thing: Boris Johnson’s character and behaviour starts to undermine a whole series of things, the system of standards in Parliament, the way the law is applied in the country and crucially, whether the government can get its message across about public health at a critical time.”

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 09:19


Who is Jack Doyle?

Jack Doyle, No 10’s head of communications, gave out awards at a reportedly illegal Christmas gathering in Downing Street last year, it has emerged.

But who is he? And what do the latest allegations mean for Boris Johnson?

My colleague Holly Bancroft reports:

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 09:23


Labour to back Plan B Covid measures

Labour will back the government’s “Plan B” coronavirus measures next week, a senior MP has confirmed.

“Despite the trouble the government find themselves in, public health will still come before party politics,” shadow minister Wes Streeting said.

Ashley Cowburn has this report:

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 09:50


‘Plan C’ measures could be considered, reports suggest

Further coronavirus restrictions – dubbed “Plan C” – could be considered by the government amid the spread of the omicron variant, reports suggest.

The measures could include three-visitor limits in care homes and the use of vaccine passports for smaller venues such as pubs.

Rory Sullivan10 December 2021 10:05


Read More: Boris Johnson’s approval rating drops to all-time low – as it happened

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