British PM Johnson loses poll lead after Covid-19 lockdown party revelations

Boris Johnson won 365 of 650 seats in the 2019 snap election on a pledge to get Brexit done. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives have lost their poll lead over the opposition Labour Party after revelations about alleged lockdown parties at Johnson's residence provoked an outcry over hypocrisy.

A YouGov poll for The Times newspaper showed Johnson's Conservatives had dropped 3 percentage points from Dec 2 to 33 per cent of the vote while Labour rose 4 percentage points to 37 per cent.

Mr Johnson imposed Covid-19 restrictions on England on Wednesday (Dec 8), just hours after apologising for a video showing staff laughing and joking about a party in Downing Street during a 2020 Christmas lockdown when such festivities were banned.

Downing Street had denied any party took place. Mr Johnson said he was furious about the impression that the video gave.

The BBC reported that Mr Johnson's deputy director of communications Jack Doyle spoke at a party of 20 to30 people on Dec 18. Downing Street declined comment.

Three quarters of people believe that there was a Christmas party in which coronavirus rules were broken and 68 per cent of those polled believe Mr Johnson was not telling the truth when he denied it, The Times said.

Another Survation poll of 1,178 people carried out on Wednesday and Thursday put Labour on 40 per cent of the vote, up 1 percentage point, and Johnson's Conservatives down 2 to 34 per cent.

Johnson will next week face a rebellion by dozens of Conservative lawmakers who will oppose his imposition of new Covid-19 rules.

"I expect a record number of Conservative MPs to vote against these latest restrictions," said Conservative lawmaker John Redwood.

Mr Johnson won 365 of 650 seats in the 2019 snap election, the biggest Conservative Party majority since Mrs Margaret Thatcher's 1987 victory, on a pledge to get Brexit done.

But Mr Johnson has faced criticism over recent months over his handling of a sleaze scandal, the awarding of lucrative Covid-19 contracts, the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat and a claim he sought to ensure pets were evacuated from Kabul during the chaotic Western withdrawal.

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