James Johnson says Boris vote 'to be tighter than Theresa May'
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James Johnson, former pollster at Downing Street, reacted to the announcement of a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister and warned the ballot is going “to be tighter than Theresa May’s margin of victory” as a lot of Tory MPs have lost trust in PM Boris Johnson. He stressed that voters “used to be able to have a bit of a laugh” with Mr Johnson but now they feel like the Prime Minister “is laughing at them”. Referring to past confidence votes such as Theresa May’s and in the scenario the PM wins, he pointed out “victories in these ballots are no guarantee that everything is going to go away”.
Mr Johnson said: “Voters feel they used to be able to have a bit of a laugh with this Prime Minister.
“Now they feel that Boris Johnson is laughing at them.
“And that trust has really snapped in the Prime Minister.
“I think there are a lot of Tory MPs who don’t have much loyalty to Boris Johnson.
“If I had to guess I think it’s going to be tighter than Theresa May’s margin of victory.”
Sky News presenter asked: “If he does win, is that the end of it for two years?”
He responded: “I don’t think it is.
“I think it’s going to be difficult.
“You saw with Theresa May, with Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
“Even victories in these ballots are no guarantees that everything is going to go away.
“Not only can there be another vote in a year’s time, obviously the 1922 Committee also reserves the right to change the rules, but I think the authority is going to be weakened.
“And I think if Boris Johnson loses by a greater margin than Theresa May in 2018, then I think we are going to see potentially some of the real senior people in the cabinet thinking ‘how long can this go on for?’.”
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Referring to Wakefield polling, he commented: “That’s a pretty devastating result.”
The polling held in Wakefield, who will go to the polls on June 23 to elect a new MP, predicted that Conservatives could lose the by-election by as much as 20 points.
He added: “And the main reason that voters gave for voting Labours was that Boris Johnson had breached that trust over Partygate and had liked to cover it up.
“I think what we’re seeing happen in places like Wakefield, places that were absolutely pivotal to giving Boris Johnson his majority in 2019, we’ve seen those old concerns about the Conservatives.
“About whether they’re in touch or whether they stand up for them.
“We’ve seen those be crystallised and brought back to the surface by the events of Partygate.
“Conservatives are finding it very difficult to win over the trust in these places”.
Chairman of the backbench 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady officially announced that the vote will be held tonight between 6pm and 8pm, as he confirmed he had received over 54 letters.
Following the official announcement, some cabinet ministers such as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Chancellor Rishi Sunak reacted to the move showing support for the Prime Minister.
In a Tweet, Ms Truss said the Prime Minister has her “100% backing in today’s vote”.
Mr Sunak also said: “I am backing him today and will continue to back him as we focus on growing the economy, tackling the cost of living and clearing the Covid backlogs”.
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