The longer the circus continues, the harder the Conservative case will be to make: my presentation to the IDU Forum in London

  • 20 June, 2023
  • Politics
  • Polling

Edited version of the presentation made to the International Democrat Union Forum in London on 20 June 2023.

To begin with, a very brief history of British politics since the general election of 2019, at which the Conservatives under Boris Johnson won an 80-seat majority. This was their biggest victory for more than 30 years, and saw the party win seats which had never before had a Tory MP.

The Conservative poll rating continued to rise in early 2020 as Johnson “got Brexit done” and people gave the government the benefit of the doubt in the early days of the pandemic. The party’s rating came back down to earth until the gap opened once again with the beginning of the successful vaccine programme, the fastest of any major European country. The lead continued until the end of the year when the first “partygate” stories appeared.

As Russia invaded Ukraine, adding to the already spiralling cost of living, further partygate revelations, together with other stories that called the prime minister’s honesty and judgment into question, helped solidify Labour’s lead. Johnson resigned in July 2022, to be succeeded after a long leadership campaign by Liz Truss. The markets reacted badly to her bold Budget and Rishi Sunak took over six weeks later, inheriting a party with its lowest poll rating in living memory. Since then, the Conservatives’ position has progressed from catastrophic to merely very bad indeed. Let’s look at what that means in more detail, according to my latest research based on a 5,000-sample poll and focus groups around the country.

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