If Thatcher can go, so can you! Boris issued brutal warning ahead of crunch week

Curtice: Boris Johnson in 'weak position' in the polls

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Amid the row over Owen Paterson and Sir Geoffrey Cox, Tory sources have warned the Prime Minister is becoming a “liability”. Such is the damage done to the party over their handling of Mr Paterson’s suspension, the Tories have now dropped to second in the polls behind Labour. With Mr Johnson now facing questions over Sir Geoffrey’s absence from the Commons to represent the British Virgin Islands, the Tories have fallen to 36 percent.

In contrast, Labour has increased to 38 points for the first time this year, according to the data from Redfield and Wilton Strategies.

With Lord Frost also admitting significant gaps remain between the UK and Northern Ireland, some MPs are now questioning whether Mr Johnson remains an “asset” to the party.

Malcolm Rifkind, who served in both John Major and Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinets, said the events of the last week had been damaging for the Prime Minister.

He told The Independent: “I was in the cabinet when Margaret Thatcher was required to fall on her sword.

“And if somebody of the stature of Thatcher can be disposed of pretty quickly and pretty ruthlessly by the parliamentary party, no prime minister can assume that they’re free from that risk.

“The big incidents of the week, and a number of smaller ones as well, suggest that old habits die hard.

“The events of the last week have been intensely damaging. I’m not in the House of Commons, but it would appear he’s in danger of becoming seen as a liability rather than an asset.

“If you’re a prime minister, you ought to have the political nous to know that this is a very bad, silly, stupid thing to do

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“And the Conservative Party has a reputation, a well-deserved reputation, of being ruthless when prime ministers are deemed to have outlived their usefulness.”

The polling data comes after the Government was forced into a U-turn over Mr Paterson’s suspension.

Initially, the Government had backed MPs who sought to quash or delay Mr Paterson’s suspension.

Mr Paterson was found to have lobbied for Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods, for which he was paid a combined £112,000 a year.

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Following backlash against the Government, Mr Paterson announced his resignation.

Not long after the scandal, reports emerged that the former Attorney General and MP for Torridge and West Devon, had used his Parliamentary office to advise the British Virgin Islands on September 14.

MPs cannot use public resources for personal or financial benefit – Sir Geoffrey has denied any wrongdoing.

Away from the allegations of Tory sleaze, the Prime Minister, who campaigned on ‘Get Brexit Done’ faces a crunch week over the future of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Lord Frost met with Maros Sefcovic on Friday to discuss issues surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol.

While Mr Sefocvic welcomed a change in tone, Lord Frost insisted gaps remain amid the threat the UK could trigger Article 16 to suspend the deal.

If the UK were to do so, the EU has warned it may terminate the Brexit deal which was agreed last December.

The poll from Redfield and Wilton Strategies asked 1,500 and was taken on November 10.

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