Boris suffers brutal poll blow with his ratings plunging to worst EVER in wake of sleaze shambles as furious Speaker Lindsay Hoyle vows to protect ‘integrity of parliament’ – and PM braces for beasting from MPs in debate tomorrow
- Boris Johnson has seen his poll ratings slump in wake of the Owen Paterson row
- PM is facing rough ride from MPs in debate on the sleaze shambles tomorrow
- Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is set to back review defending ‘integrity of parliament’
Boris Johnson suffered a brutal poll blow today as his ratings plunged to their worst ever in the wake of the sleaze shambles.
The PM’s net approval rating has slumped to minus 20 in the latest Opinium survey, the lowest the firm has ever recorded, while the Tory lead dropped four points.
The Conservatives are now just one point ahead of Labour after a bruising week in which Mr Johnson’s bid to save ally Owen Paterson from punishment for lobbying humiliatingly collapsed.
The premier is braced for more pain tomorrow when MPs debate the standards meltdown, with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle expected to step in to defend the ‘integrity of parliament’.
He is believed to be privately livid at the ‘arrogance’ displayed by the government, and is likely to back a review of the system in an effort to shore up confidence.
There are predictions that a review will lead to MPs found guilty of financial misdemeanours being able to appeal to a retired judge – one of the Tories’ key demands in last week’s stormy exchanges in the House.
But it could also look at whether MPs should still be able to earn thousands of pounds from outside interests on top of their Commons’ salary of £81,932.
Yesterday former prime minister Sir John Major launched a blistering attack on the ‘shameful’ actions of Mr Johnson’s government, arguing that they were ‘perhaps politically corrupt’.
But Environment Secretary George Eustice said today that it is a ‘Westminster storm in a teacup’ and took a potshot at Sir John. ‘He’s wrong… I disagree with John Major on quite a few issues,’ he told Sky News. ‘He is not somebody whose cue I would normally take.’
Mr Eustice hinting at his own frustration saying the Paterson case ‘inevitably’ ended up getting conflated with calls for wider standards reform.
He also admitted he is disappointed the issue has been heading the news agenda with the COP26 summit going on in Glasgow.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has now written to the body that considers nominations for peerages to argue that Mr Paterson – who resigned from the Commons on Thursday – should not be granted an honour if Downing Street recommends him for one.
Boris Johnson (left) suffered a brutal poll blow today as his ratings plunged to their worst ever in the wake of the row over Owen Paterson’s (right) standards report
The premier is braced for more pain tomorrow when MPs debate the standards meltdown, with Speaker Lindsay Hoyle expected to step in to defend the ‘integrity of parliament’
The scale of the damage was underlined again today with an Opinium poll for the Observer putting the Tories on 37 per cent, down three points on last week
Yesterday former prime minister Sir John Major launched a blistering attack on the ‘shameful’ actions of Mr Johnson’s government, arguing that they were ‘perhaps politically corrupt’
The scale of the damage was underlined again today with an Opinium poll for the Observer putting the Tories on 37 per cent, down three points on last week.
Labour was up one point on 36 per cent, the Liberal Democrats up one on 9 per cent and the Greens down one on 6 per cent.
Mr Johnson’s net approval rating was down from minus 16 last week – with 30 per cent of those surveyed approving of the job he is doing and 50 per cent disapproving.
Sir Keir was minus nine, with 29 per cent approving and 37 per cent disapproving.
Mr Paterson quit after Mr Johnson abandoned a plan which would have seen his case – and the whole standards regime – reviewed by a Tory-led committee.
Sir Lindsay has authorised a three-hour emergency debate tomorrow, where opposition MPs are set to revisit questions about his lavish Downing Street flat overhaul and ‘freebie’ holiday in Spain.
The Speaker is ready to bring forward proposals for a review of the standards system, potentially led by retired clerks.
A source close to the Speaker told the Sunday Times: ‘He has got to listen to what MPs are saying in tomorrow’s debate before taking decisive action.
‘But he is clear he will have to step in to protect the integrity of parliament if no other solution is forthcoming.’
Mr Johnson is also facing a backlash over refusing to declare his recent holiday to Lord Goldsmith’s luxury villa near Marbella on the Commons register.
There are concerns the decision to use the ministerial register, means he does not have to disclose the value of the gift, could fuel an escalating spat with the Speaker over ministers failing to show respect for Parliament.
Sir Lindsay has repeatedly rebuked the government for making announcements in press conferences and interviews instead of coming to the Commons.
The Speaker tore into Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last week for suggesting that standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson should resign.
One Commons source told MailOnline that if the villa was owned by the Goldsmith family it could not be treated solely as a gift from Lord Goldsmith – which could torpedo No10’s arguments against putting it on the MP register.
In a further signs of Tory anger about the mess, ex-minister Caroline Nokes – a prominent critic of Mr Johnson – said the government’s behaviour ‘stinks’.
She wrote in the Sunday Mirror: ‘If my postbag is anything to go by, the public think the PM’s decision to circle his wagons and attack Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone well and truly stinks. And it does.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has written to the body that considers nominations for peerages to argue that Mr Paterson – who resigned from the Commons on Thursday – should not be granted an honour if Downing Street recommends him for one
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg (left) and Chief Whip Mark Spencer (right) have been blamed for a ‘disastrous strategy’ over the standards system
Defence committee chair Tobias Ellwood said Mr Johnson risked ending up as ‘just another former occupant of No 10’ if he takes Parliament for granted.
Mr Ellwood wrote that testing times prompted the public to look to its Government to provide ‘leadership, statecraft and vision’.
‘A PM who takes Parliament for granted will achieve none of these things and simply end up, not as a big beast, but as just another former occupant of No 10,’ Mr Ellwood wrote in The Sun.
The senior Conservative, who was axed from the Government when Mr Johnson replaced Theresa May in July 2019, said: ‘This mess should be used as an opportunity to press the reset button on the entire Parliament-government relationship, then regroup. There is genuine rage within the ranks.
‘Constituents have been rightly appalled by what they have seen. One system for MPs, another for the public.’
It comes as Labour claimed there was a ‘cash for access culture’ in the Tory party following reports a series of donors who give the Tories £3 million and serve as the Conservative treasurer have been put forward for seats in the Lords.
Sir John said yesterday that a peerage for Mr Paterson would be ‘rather extraordinary’.
:: Opinium surveyed 1,840 UK adults on November 5-6
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