Speculation over Boris Johnson no-confidence vote grows as poll signals Wakefield by-election defeat for Tories

A new poll by JL Partners has predicted that the Conservatives will lose their Wakefield seat in the upcoming by-election.

By PA Reporter
Sunday, 5th June 2022, 2:04 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th June 2022, 2:07 pm

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he does not believe Boris Johnson will face a confidence vote this week, but were there to be one the Prime Minister would win.

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He also dismissed the mixed reception received by Mr Johnson as he attended a service at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday, where boos could be heard from the crowd.

Grant Shapps dismissed the mixed reception received by Mr Johnson as he attended a service at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday, where boos could be heard from the crowd.

Mr Shapps' backing comes amid speculation Mr Johnson could face a crunch vote on his premiership as soon as this Wednesday amid reports the threshold for a no-confidence vote might have already been reached.

Meanwhile, new polling suggests the Conservatives risk losing a key electoral test later this month by a significant margin.

A survey of voters in the battleground constituency of Wakefield who will go to the polls on June 23 to elect a new MP has suggested the Tories could lose the by-election by as much as 20 points.

Wakefield constituency polling by JL Partners and reported in The Sunday Times is putting Labour on 48 points compared with 28 points for the Conservatives - a 19-point slip on the winning Tory performance two-and-a-half years ago.

The polling expert said the top reason swing voters in the West Yorkshire seat - who are voting for a candidate to succeed former Tory incumbent Imran Ahmad Khan after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a boy - gave for preferring Labour was because "Boris Johnson tried to cover up partygate, and lied to the public".

Asked about the poll on BBC's Sunday Morning programme, Mr Shapps said: "I think actually the best thing to do with all elections is to allow the people to speak and do so at the ballot box.

"You often get polls which show a variety of different situations."

Asked if he believes there is going to be a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson this week, Mr Shapps said: "No, I don't ... actually in the round when people judge Government by the general election, rather than mid-term where it's not unusual to see polling like this, actually people make a decision about whether you've delivered and done a good for the country as a whole.

"I'm absolutely certain, with some of these huge decisions, sorting out Brexit, getting through coronavirus, seeing the largest growing economy last year, these are decisions and actions which will in the end matter to people."

Under Conservative Party rules, if 54 letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson's premiership are submitted to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, then a leadership vote will be held.

The Sunday Times said it had been told as many as 67 letters had gone in which, if correct, would mean the threshold has been reached.

The rebels would need 180 voters to remove the Prime Minister.