Tory panic as Labour poll lead hits six points

‘Patience is running out’: Tory panic as polls show Labour leading by up to SIX points with ‘despair’ over crucial North Shropshire by-election next week and barrage of council seat losses

Boris Johnson was warned that ‘patience is running out’ today as polls showed Labour leading by up to six points – and the Tories were hit with a barrage of council seat losses. 

YouGov research for the Times showed the Conservatives slumping to just 33 per cent – four behind Keir Starmer’s party.

And a Survation poll was even worse, putting Labour on 40 per cent while the Tories trailed behind on 34 per cent.

Meanwhile, anxiety has been heightened by the loss of three council seats in Rotherham and Bracknell overnight, with another three in Tonbridge also looking doomed. 

There is a mood of ‘despair’ over the prospects for holding the previously rock-solid North Shropshire Commons seat next week, with senior figures telling MailOnline they will be ‘astonished’ if the Lib Dems do not win the by-election triggered by Owen Paterson’s resignation. 

The warning signs will heap pressure on the PM – whose wife Carrie has just given birth to their second child – to steady the ship after months of crisis over sleaze and bungled U-turns.   

Mr Johnson looks to be facing a perfect storm with the row over his grace-and-favour flat refurbishment reigniting, allegations of lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, and a huge Tory revolt over Covid measures.

The Conservatives fell two points to 34 per cent in a poll today amid widespread fury at Covid rule-busting parties last Christmas

YouGov research for the Times showed the Conservatives slumping to just 33 per cent – four behind Keir Starmer ‘s party

Mr Johnson looks to be facing a perfect storm with the row over his grace-and-favour flat refurbishment reigniting, allegations of lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, and a huge Tory revolt over Covid measures

A senior Tory source told MailOnline that there had been a lot of ‘unexploded bombs’ for Mr Johnson up to now.

‘When he spoke to the ’22 over sleaze he notably failed to get the audience back with his normal charm and wit and jovial manner,’ they said.

‘They didn’t respond to it, which was an indication that patience was running short. Now you’ve got this week.’

The Conservative warned that the ‘polls are all going in one direction’ and it will not be a ‘comfortable Christmas’ for Mr Johnson. ‘I don’t think he is in danger this week or over Christmas, but come the end of January that is probably when he really will be in danger – if he is.’

They also pointed to Sajid Javid’s refusal to conduct interviews defending the bombshell video of No10 staff giggling about their party, and the fact the Health Secretary openly admitted afterwards that he had refused. 

‘It was pretty ‘’over to you b******s at No10’’.’ the Tory said. ‘When you get a secretary of state who’s only just been re-promoted distancing himself in the way he did it is pretty brutal.’

Ex-Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchel warned that the ‘mood of the Conservative Party is sulphurous and we need to see some grip from No10’.

‘The history of the Tory Party is littered with ruthlessness on these occasions but I’m confident that Boris will get a grip,’ he told the BBC. 

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, is treasurer of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, delivered a thinly-veiled warning this morning, saying that Mr Johnson must stabilise the ship over Christmas.

‘He’s got to come clean on a lot of the issues that you mentioned in your opening news,’ the veteran MP said.

‘We’re all about to go for a Christmas break. If he comes back in the new year refreshed, able to differentiate between his private life and public life, and clarify all the issues and then start to do the really big issues that this country needs – restoring the NHS, dealing with carbon emissions and Cop26, how we deal with the economy, helping businesses – we can really get onto that agenda away from these other, sort of, personal issues, then I think he’s fine.

‘But if we go on having these – what I call personal issues, issues of judgment by the Prime Minister – then I think that’s a very different scenario.’

YouGov found three-quarters of voters believe there was a Christmas party in which rules were broken – nearly the same proportion think Mr Johnson lied about it afterwards. 

More worryingly, one fifth of Tory voters say the government’s response to the allegations made them trust it less.

Survation said of its research for the Daily Mirror: ‘In terms of vote share, were these types of figures seen at the next General Election a Labour lead of this size would easily make Labour the largest party in the Commons with over 300 seats, albeit short of an overall majority.’  

On the by-election hopes, a senior Tory source said: ‘I would be astonished if the Lib Dems don’t win North Shropshire. And that is despite the fact it is a heavily Leave constituency.’

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