Boris Johnson clashes with Beth Rigby over Partygate probe
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The former editor of the Sunday Times said that while Labour should be soaring ahead in the polls, both Sir Keir’s policies and politicians are holding them back.
He said: “When Johnson delivered his big majority in December 2019, the Tories had a 32-point lead over Labour on the economy. Today they’re neck and neck (though to be fair, voters don’t seem to think Labour or the Tories are much cop at managing the economy).
“Partygate has merely reinforced the general perception that Johnson simply can’t be trusted. When pollsters construct a so-called ‘word cloud’ of words people most associate with Johnson, ‘liar’ is the clear leader.
“His personal popularity is down there with Gordon Brown’s when he was on his last legs as prime minister.
“Trust me, that is not a good place for any PM to be.”
However, Mr Neil said Sir Keir was failing to make the kind of gains he should be securing while the Tories flounder in the wake of the so-called partygate scandal surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He continues: “And yet . . . the latest YouGov poll puts Labour a mere six points ahead of the Tories. One year into Blair’s leadership Labour was a massive 35 points ahead; at times his lead hit 40 points.
“After the Major Government’s humiliating ejection from the European exchange mechanism in the autumn of 1992, the Tories were never in striking distance of Labour again.
“With Labour’s current 39 to 33 percent lead, Starmer hasn’t even managed to get Labour support above the 40 percent essential for the huge swing he needs to win.”
Labour has pushed ahead in the polls as the Tories have been battered by consecutive scandals and failings.
Last week, Boris Johnson became the first sitting Prime Minister to have been found to have broken the law while in office after he was fined for breaking lockdown laws during parties at No 10 Downing Street during the pandemic.
The revelations have pushed the Tories into chaos just weeks before ballots are due to be cast across the UK for upcoming local elections.
Despite an overall majority of 75 in the Commons, Prime Minister Johnson failed to see off a Labour move to launch another inquiry into the partygate affair to ascertain whether he had misled the House of Commons over the allegations.
The Conservatives are also facing plummeting popularity over their perceived mishandling of the cost of living crisis and tax hikes, with only 74 percent of voters thinking the Government is handling inflation badly compared to just 14 percent who think they are handling it well.
In contrast, the Labour leader’s popularity is on the rise, with a recent YouGov poll from April 7 revealing that 53 percent of voters think Sir Keir was doing well compared to 27 percent who think he wasn’t.
Comparatively, when asked the same question on the same date about Mr Johnson, 65 percent said he was doing badly, and 29 percent said he was doing well.
A recent poll also found that Britons trust the Labour Party most to support the NHS (40 percent), tackle poverty (38 percent), manage housing (36 percent), along with immigration and education (both 34 percent).
However, Mr Neil argued that Mr Starmer was still failing to make the gains that could be possible against the backdrop of Tory blunders.
The veteran broadcaster pointed out a number of mistakes by the “inexperienced” Labour leader in recent weeks, including his recent need to retract a claim in Parliament that Mr Johnson had criticised the BBC’s coverage of Ukraine.
He also pointed out a recent mistake on Labour’s local election leaflets which claimed that the “cost-of-living crisis means families are £2,620 worse off” while the actual figure is closer to £700.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Neil said: “These mistakes happen when you have an inexperienced leader supported by an inexperienced team.”
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