Boris Johnson Glosses Over His Downfall In Attack On Rishi Sunak

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in 2020.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in 2020.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in 2020.

Boris Johnson has warned the Tories are “drifting to defeat” under Rishi Sunak – glossing over how the party was boasting a dismal poll rating when he was forced out of Downing Street.

The former prime minister, who led a party with a double-digit poll deficit to Labour at the end of his time in office, has bemoaned the Conservatives’ electoral chances in a series of interviews with Nadine Dorries, The Times reports.

Johnson reportedly understands that Sunak apparently believes that “the public maybe had too much of me”, are “fed up” and want a change.

But he added: “You’ve got to have an agenda for change in the country. You know, people will feel hacked off.

“They voted for change in 2019 and they are drifting back to Labour in those Brexit seats because they’re not seeing a changed government. Nothing to rally behind, nothing. We are just drifting to defeat.”

When Johnson announced his resignation on July 7, 2022, YouGov polling showed Labour on 40% and the Tories on 29% — an 11-point lead for Keir Starmer’s party

And it was Johnson’s immediate successor who added to Tory woes.

On September 29, 2022, the same YouGov poll showed Labour had surged to a 33-point lead over the Conservatives amid the market turmoil caused by Liz Truss’ mini-Budget.

The latest survey (below) suggests at least Sunak has clawed that back to a 21-point advantage for Labour.

In the King’s Speech, which effectively set out Sunak’s priorities, the main attention-grabbing policies were tougher sentences for the worst criminals, forcing defendants to appear in court for sentencing and a gradual ban on smoking.

Johnson said he feels “a massive, massive sense of frustration” that his 80-seat majority and “fantastic agenda” has been wasted.

He was essentially pushed into resigning after almost 60 ministers quit his government in July last year. A PA News analysis at the time showed Johnson’s personal poll rating tumbled as the Owen Paterson scandal and partygate began to engulf his premiership. It was during this period that Labour began to establish a commanding poll lead over the Tories, the analysis shows.