The Current Perception of Boris Johnson: Brits’ Opinion Reveals a Less Favorable View


It’s nearly a year since Boris Johnson reluctantly ended his scandal-hit premiership with his resignation statement outside No 10 Downing Street.
Most prime ministers – think Theresa May, David Cameron, and Gordon Brown – fade from the public conscience relatively quickly when they step down.
But it feels like Johnson is still talked about as much now as when he led the country for three years.
And now he has resigned as an M.P. after receiving the report on whether he lied to Parliament over the Partygate scandal.
Johnson did not leave quietly, accusing the Commons inquiry of attempting to “drive me out” and comparing the investigation to a “kangaroo court” in a lengthy statement.
Here, Yahoo News U.K. looks at the polling, which shows what Britons currently think of the former prime minister and M.P. for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Two-thirds thought Johnson should resign.

The Privileges Committee report centres around whether Johnson lied to M.P.s about COVID lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street.
During PM, Johnson assured M.P.s, “All guidance was followed completely in Number 10”. He could face suspension from the Commons if the committee finds him in contempt of Parliament.
YouGov polling released before his resignation on Friday suggested it would take more work for Johnson to recover his standing among the public.
Almost seven years and four prime ministers since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, polling suggests public sentiment has turned against Brexit.

In the latest YouGov poll published last week, 53% said the U.K. was wrong to leave versus 32% who still believed it was the right call. Ipsos polling in January indicated that 45% of the population thought Brexit had worsened their daily life, versus just 11% who said it had improved their lives.
A poll conducted by Focaldata and UnHerd at the end of last year found that of around 10,000 respondents nationwide, 54% either “strongly agree” or “mildly agree” with the statement that “Britain was wrong to leave the E.U.”
Those who either mildly or strongly disagreed amounted to 28%. Of the 632 parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland), only one had more people disagreeing with the statement than agreeing – the East Midlands coastal constituency of Boston and Skegness, which also had the highest percentage Brexit vote in 2016.

How Brits View Boris Johnson’s Leadership

The U.K. economy is expected to be the worst performer in the G-20 over the next two years, while a cost-of-living crisis and political turmoil have compounded the Conservative government’s headaches.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ruling party now trails the main opposition Labour Party by more than 20 points across public polls ahead of a general election in 2024.
Anand Menon, director of the U.K. in a Changing Europe enterprise and professor of European politics and remote affairs at King’s College London, told CNBC that there were two critical shifts in the public’s attitudes towards Brexit.
“The first is the growing number of people, including Leave voters, who now say they think the government has mishandled Brexit — that is to say, they see this as a government failure,” he said.
“The second thing is the increasing number of Leave and other voters seeing Brexit as having had negative economic impacts.”
This is borne out in the latest YouGov polling, which found that 68% of those surveyed thought the government had handled Brexit poorly versus just 21% who said the Conservatives were taking it well.

The Shifting Attitudes Toward Boris Johnson in the UK

Sunak announced a new deal with the European Union on Monday that seeks to address the Northern Ireland Protocol, a controversial piece of the existing withdrawal arrangement that enforced checks on goods travelling across the Irish Sea from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
It remains to be seen whether this will swing the dial in the Conservatives’ favour, but YouGov noted that those who now regret their vote to leave account for 7% of the voting public (excluding those who would not vote).
“Ahead of the 2019 general election, this figure was around 4%. These changes may not seem massive, but given how stagnant views on E.U. membership have been since the referendum, this preference change could be impactful,” the pollster said.

“Those who voted Leave but are now unsure if it was the right decision now account for another 4% of voters, making the overall pool of Leavers who no longer think it was the right decision around one in nine voters (11%).”
Menon noted that, ironically, Brexit began negatively affecting the economy in early 2020, shortly after the U.K. left the E.U., but the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic clouded the impact.
Industries from farming and fishing to car manufacturing and pharmaceuticals have highlighted difficulties faced as a direct result of Brexit over the past few years.

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Olivia Wilson

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