Polls in freefall as sleaze allegations and Christmas party storm hit PM

10 December 2021, 10:07 | Updated: 10 December 2021, 10:10

Boris Johnson is fighting scandals on multiple fronts
Boris Johnson is fighting scandals on multiple fronts. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Long-running sleaze accusations and the Christmas party storm have hit Government hard with popularity slumping for the beleaguered PM, who is fighting scandals on multiple fronts.

Ahead of a crucial by-election in North Shropshire next week, polling carried out yesterday shows support for the Tories is plummeting. A YouGov poll carried out for The Times found that Labour now has a four-point lead, its biggest in 11 months.

The YouGov poll found that three quarters of people believe there was a Christmas Party, and 68 per cent said they thought Mr Johnson was lying when he denied it.   

A separate Survation poll suggested that Labour's poll lead may be even bigger, at six points.     

The change in public opinion suggests that allegations surrounding the Christmas Party being held in No 10 last December - in breach of lockdown rules - have cut through and angered the public.

LBC has been inundated by furious callers in recent days, criticising the Government for partying while their relatives lay dying and they were sticking to the rules.

No10 still insists no party took place.

However separate claims emerged this morning that one of Boris Johnson's senior aides gave a speech at the do on Dec 18.

Jack Doyle, who was deputy director of communications at No 10 at the time, addressed up to 50 people at the gathering, according to reports from ITV News.

Downing Street refused to comment further than to say a fact-finding review was ongoing and Mr Doyle has been approached for comment.

Snap polling by Savanta ComRes earlier in the week found half of Brits think Boris Johnson should quit over the No10 Xmas party allegations.

Fifty-four per cent of those polled said Mr Johnson should resign, with a third of Conservative voters (33%) also saying the Prime Minister should quit.

Three in five said party attendees should resign (58%), while just one in five said they should not (22%).

The poll also asked whether Allegra Stratton, who was filmed making the remarks about the No10 Christmas party, should apologise.

Of those polled, 79% said the PM's former press secretary should say sorry, and 76% said Mr Johnson should also issue an apology.

Over eight in ten (83%) said the government has let the public down.

While three in ten said they are less likely to follow Covid rules as a result (29%).

A leaked video showed Mr Johnson's aides joking about the party in December 2020, despite ministers insisting that it did not take place and Covid rules were not broken.

The PM's spokeswoman Allegra Stratton resigned after the video emerged.

The PM is also facing serious questions over whether he misled an investigation into donations for refurbishments to his Downing Street flat after a watchdog fined the Tories £17,800.

The investigation into the controversial redecoration of the PM's flat, undertaken by The Electoral Commission, found Mr Johnson personally asked for more funds for the work - despite claiming he knew nothing about any payments three months later.

The Tories are considering whether to launch an appeal against the fine but Angela Rayner today called for the investigation to be reopened.

She wrote online: "Lord Geidt must reopen the investigation into the financing of the Prime Ministers flat right now. Either he was misled or he is truly a lapdog not a watchdog."