Wakefield voters - including Brexit supporters - view Boris Johnson negatively, polling finds

Boris Johnson has a substantial negative approval rating among voters in Wakefield - even among those who backed Brexit, new polling shared with The Yorkshire Post has found.

Polling by Survation on behalf of campaigning platform 38 Degrees ahead of the by-election in the city found the Prime Minister has a net favourability rating of -32 per cent, including -13 per cent among those who voted leave in the EU referendum.

The by-election on June 23 has been called following the resignation of Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan who has been jailed for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

The fieldwork was carried out between May 24 and June 1 ahead of this week’s confidence vote in the Prime Minister and involved questions to more than 500 voters in the city. It has suggested Labour is on course for a sizeable victory in the city with a 23 point lead over the Conservatives.The polling shows Mr Johnson’s approval rating with people aged over 65 is minus 13 per cent but an improved minus one per cent with voters aged 55 to 64.

Boris Johnson chairs a Cabinet meeting one day after narrowly winning a confidence vote.

In contrast, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has a -8 overall net favourability rating among local voters, with Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey on -seven per cent. However 19 per cent of all respondents said they had not heard of Sir Ed.

The polling found 41 per cent of voters in Wakefield thought Sir Keir would make the best Prime Minister compared to 31 per cent who said they preferred Mr Johnson. A total of 29 per cent said they were unsure.

More broadly, the Conservative Party has a net favorability rating of -24 per cent, compared to +7 per cent for Labour, and -15 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

Veronica Hawking, Head of Campaigns at 38 Degrees, said: “The impact of Partygate and the cost of living crisis on Boris Johnson’s approval ratings are laid out starkly in this poll. 211 Conservative MPs may have ignored those warning signs, but people in Wakefield are now, clearly, reminding them - they aren’t moving on from dishonesty and law breaking taking place in the heart of government. People in Wakefield and across the country are crying out for help. It should come as no surprise that most people, including a majority of Conservative voters, support increasing Universal Credit, child benefit and legacy benefits fully in line with inflation from October, to help tackle this.”

The polling also found that 62 per cent of respondents believe the Government should not privatise Channel 4, including 52 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters.

Ms Hawking said: “The Government should also take note of the unpopularity of its proposed privatisation of Channel 4, based in nearby Leeds. The Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, likes to paint opposition to her push to sell off our Channel 4 as a London luvvie obsession. Wakefield’s verdict is clear: our public broadcaster is valued and they don’t want it sold off to the highest bidder.”

Respondents support idea of investigation into MP's selection

Almost three-quarters of voters in Wakefield would back an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Imran Ahmad Khan becoming an MP, the polling suggested.

It found 73 per cent backed the idea - which has been called for by Labour after Khan’s victim told the court case that he had informed Conservative head office about the assault days before the 2019 election, but was not “taken very seriously”.

The Conservative Party has said it has found no record of such a complaint.

Only 11 per cent of those questioned for the Survation polling ahead of the by-election said they would oppose an independent investigation into the matter.

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