It has become increasingly clear in recent days that Boris Johnson has lost the support of the public. Snap polling after the release of the Sue Gray report revealed that 69% of British voters wanted him to resign, and an increasing number of Conservative MPs are turning against the prime minister.
However, not all of Johnson’s party are in agreement that it is time for Johnson to go. Gary Sambrook is the first Conservative MP elected in Birmingham Northfield since 1987. On the day of Gray’s report, he tweeted a statement saying:
“I’ve listened carefully to the Prime Minister today, the @BorisJohnson we love and who has delivered. He’s made promises on how he wants to change how he does things, how he wants to deliver for my constituents and the UK and I support him in doing that. Let’s get on with the job.”
The next day, a team from the Bylines Network went to Sambrook’s constituency, and asked voters how they felt. The answer was overwhelming. Three quarters of the voters we asked said that Johnson ought to be sacked, and that they wanted Sambrook to vote him out.
Condemnation from the Red Wall
Albeit, this was far from scientific research. We spoke to over 50 voters on the day of fieldwork, of whom 8 agreed to an in-depth interview. However the overwhelming impression, even from those who voted Conservative in 2019, is that Johnson’s time is up.
A few choice quotes from our interviews include:
“At the end of the day, you’re not going to get caught by the police if you break the rules, you follow the rules because it’s what you think you should be doing. If the people right at the very top are undermining that, then it undermines everything about society and why we do things.”
“I’m not keen on what he’s done, and I think he should get into trouble for what he’s done. And my opinion is that everyone else who got into trouble for having parties should actually get their money back!”
“I think it’s a bit embarrassing for all of the people in the UK. Because we’ve all been suffering through this lockdown, and the Prime Minister encouraged us all to follow the rules. If he did have a party…it’s going to be very embarrassing and very sad.”
This is a clear verdict from red wall constituencies like Birmingham Northfield, who put their trust in Johnson two years ago. Polling has shown that Johnson is even less popular in seats gained by the Conservatives in 2019, than either in seats which either stayed Tory or in those which voted for another party.
If our conversations are anything to go by, the picture may be even worse than it appears.