Labour takes aim: Is this the end of the decade-long Tory reign?

Boris Johnson 'unfit to be Prime Minister' says Butterworth

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The sleaze row engulfing the Conservative Party appears to be sticking around, as MPs across the house pummel Boris Johnson and his party for the handling of the Owen Paterson row. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer hasn’t wasted the opportunity, taking lumps out of the Prime Minister at every turn, and the polls are reflecting the deepening crisis too.

Sir Keir accused the PM of dragging the Tories “through the sewers and the stench lingers”.

He sought to highlight a pattern of behaviour where the Government “goes after” those charged with enforcing the rules after Downing Street appeared to make a fresh bid to stop the regulator investigating the controversy around Mr Johnson’s flat refurbishment.

Mere days after the Tories were forced to abandon attempts to overhaul the standards watchdog and scrap the punishment doled out to Mr Paterson for lobbying, Number 10 argued the Prime Minister did not need to declare how much he was loaned by a Tory donor to redo his Downing Street flat.

This wasn’t the only thing Boris Johnson did this week which Labout happily exploited.

On Monday, Mr Johnson visited a hospital in Hexam – without a mask despite all hospital workers donning one – and Sir Keir accused him of “cowering” rather than joining the emergency debate.

He said: “Last week, he damaged himself, his party and our democracy. He led his party through the sewers and the stench lingers.

“This week he had the chance to clean up, to ­apologise and finally accept that the rules apply to him and his friends. Instead of stepping up, he has hidden away.

“Instead of clearing his mess he has left his side knee-deep in it. Instead of leading from the front he has cowered away.”

Later that same day, Labour published research calculating Mr Johnson had travelled the whole distance around the world to avoid difficult questions down the years.

While the research was fairly tongue-in-cheek, Sir Keir insisted: “He is not a serious leader and the joke isn’t funny anymore.”

And even Mr Johnson’s own MPs turned on him, as his personal poll ratings slumped to their lowest since he took power.

According to the latest polls from Opinium for the Observer, which surveyed 1,840 British adults between November 5 and 6, Boris Johnson’s lead over Sir Keir has fallen to just one point.

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The PM’s personal ratings have now fallen to -20, down from -16 last week, proving Mr Johnson’s popularity is on a downward momentum.

There was also a significant shift in who voters see as the best prime minister.

An 11-point lead for Mr Johnson has shrunk to just two points.

Mr Johnson is regarded as the best candidate by 28 percent of voters, down five points, with the Labour leader on 26 percent (up four points).

The same poll also shows that, while the Tories still lead in the polls for overall voting intention, it’s not by much.

The Opinium poll shows the Tories hold a general election voting intention of 37 percent, with Labour hot on their heels with 36 percent.

The Lib Dems are in third with nine percent, and the Greens with seven percent.

But another poll, published on Monday by Ipsos MORI, is even more worrying for the Tories, seeing the Tories lose their lead in the polls for the first time since the 2019 general election.

The Ipsos MORI survey for The Standard put the Conservatives on 35 percent, down four points on September, Labour unchanged on 36 percent, the Greens up five points to 11 percent, and Liberal Democrats unchanged on nine percent.

And this poll was largely conducted before the Owen Paterson sleaze scandal exploded at Westminster, with pundits expecting things to look even worse now.

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