LONDON, Sept 9 (NNN-Xinhua) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was given a boost Sunday when three separate opinion polls gave his Conservative Party a lead over rivals.
It came as a war of words continued following the resignation of one of Johnson’s key front bench ministers, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd.
The boost for Johnson also came as politicians prepared for another showdown in the House of Commons Monday when a second attempt is to be made to call a snap general election.
The main opposition Labour Party have joined forces with the minority Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.
Their collective vote means Johnson won’t win the two thirds majority to trigger an election in mid-October ahead of the Oct 17 crucial meeting in Brussels of the European Council.
Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to give Royal Assent Monday to the opposition parties’ legislation aimed at preventing Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct 31 unless there is a deal agreed with the EU.
The new law means Johnson will face having to ask EU members to grant an extension to the departure date until the end of next January.
The polls boost for Johnson came despite suffering major defeats in the House of Commons in the past few days. He had also faced criticism for firing 21 MPs, including a number of senior party veterans, from the Conservative benches for siding with the opposition in the votes.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that two polls published on Saturday evening give the Conservatives a commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. The newspaper said it suggested Johnson’s hardline stance on Brexit is cutting through to voters.
The Conservatives are up three points to 35 percent in the latest Opinium poll, with Labour trailing in second place on 25 percent. The minority Liberal Democrats are on 17 percent.
The Telegraph said that while Johnson’s own approval ratings have fallen slightly, from 41 percent to 36 percent, he still enjoys a dominant lead over Corbyn, with just 16 percent of respondents considering the Labour leader to be a better candidate for prime minister.
The latest survey also appeared to show that a plurality of voters support Johnson’s Brexit strategy, with 37 percent stating that they approved of his handling of the Brexit process, while only 17 percent backed Corbyn’s approach.
A poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times suggested Johnson’s lead over Corbyn is even more commanding, with the Conservatives now 14 points ahead of Labour.
Another survey by Deltapoll suggested the gap has narrowed, with the Conservatives falling four points to 31 percent.
The Telegraph commented that the findings of the most recent polls appear to fly in the face of events in Parliament last week, when Johnson failed to stop Remainer MPs from legislating to delay Brexit or secure the election he believes is required to break the deadlock.
The polls also appeared to indicate the sacking of the 21 Conservatives, including former Chancellor Philip Hammond, ex-ministers David Gauke and Rory Stewart, and veteran politician Kenneth Clarke, have had a less notable impact on voters than had been expected.
The Sunday Times published an exclusive interview with Rudd in which she said she had quit over Johnson’s approach to Brexit.
Responding to Rudd’s scathing resignation letter, a senior government source told The Sunday Telegraph: “As the polls show, the public do not back attempts by some MPs to cancel the referendum.”
Downing Street said the Environment Minister Therese Coffey is to replace Rudd as Work and Pensions Secretary.
Commenting on Rudd’s resignation as a senior minister as well as quitting the Conservative Party, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said “Johnson’s government is falling apart. He’s being totally found out.”
He said on the party’s website: “This is further proof that the government has no intention of securing a Brexit deal.
“Boris Johnson is pursuing a no deal Brexit strategy that would be disastrous for jobs and our economy, and put our public services at risk.
“We need to take no deal off the table, then we need a General Election to elect a Labour government that will repair the damage after nine years of Tory (Conservative) chaos.”
In an interview Sunday on Sky News’ political program, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said British voters realised the prime minister is “trying to get us out of a rut”. — NNN-XINHUA