Conservatives boosted by ‘Boris bounce’, polls suggest

The Conservatives have been given a “Boris bounce” after electing their new leader, according to new polls.

Since Boris Johnson became prime minister after defeating Jeremy Hunt in the race for No 10 earlier this week, the Tories have opened up a lead of up to 10 percentage points over Labour.

A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times newspaper put the Tories on 31%, up six points on a previous poll, while Jeremy Corbyn’s party was on 21%, a rise of two points.

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It was the Conservatives’ biggest lead over the opposition in five months and it was the first time their support has risen above 30% since April, the paper claimed.

The Liberal Democrats were down three points on 20% and the new Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, was down four points on 13%, half its peak level in May.

Meanwhile, a survey by Deltapoll for the Mail on Sunday showed support for the Tories was at 30%, five points ahead of Labour at 25%, with the Lib Dems on 18% and the Brexit Party on 14%.

But if Labour dropped Mr Corbyn as its leader, the poll said the party would go into the lead at 34%, with the Tories on 28%, the Brexit Party on 14% and the Lib Dems on 13%.

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A third poll by Comres for the Sunday Express had the Conservatives in the lead with 28%, up three points and only one percentage point ahead of Labour.

While preferred as a leader to Mr Corbyn, most voters think Mr Johnson will be a bad prime minister, ComRes said.

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“As Boris Johnson begins his premiership we have seen an anticipated bump in Conservative support, generally at the expense of the Brexit Party,” said head of politics at Comres, Chris Hopkins.

“However, while the public agree that he should be given the necessary time to deliver Brexit, a majority are sceptical as to how good he may be as prime minister.”

Mr Johnson, who took over as Tory leader and PM from Theresa May, has pledged to take the UK out of the European Union on 31 October, “no ifs, no buts”.

He pledged to strike a “new” and “better deal” which would maximise the opportunities of Brexit, claiming he had every confidence he would get it done by the Halloween deadline.

But he has also said he is prepared to take the country out of the bloc without an agreement by that date if necessary.

On Saturday, the PM pledged funding for a major new rail link between Manchester and Leeds, and promised action on housing and crime, despite insisting he was not preparing for a snap autumn election.

Conservative Party leadership candidate Michael Gove leaves his home in London
Image: Michael Gove says the government is ‘working on the assumption’ the EU will not strike a new agreement

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who has been tasked by Mr Johnson with boosting preparations for a no-deal Brexit, has said the government is “working on the assumption” that the European Union will not strike a new agreement.

Elsewhere, former chancellor Philip Hammond who quit his role before Mr Johnson became prime minister, has reportedly held secret talks with Labour about how to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Hammond, who is against the UK leaving the EU without a transition deal amid fears of an economic shock, met shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Kier Starmer, shortly after he resigned from his Treasury post, the Observer said.

The newspaper said the pair agreed to work with other senior politicians including former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin to thrash out how best to use parliamentary votes to scupper a no-deal outcome.

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