Boris Johnson may not fight the 2024 general election, and his heart might not be in staying the full term, an expert has suggested.
Professor Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, explained: ‘We’re not even sure he’ll be in charge for that long’.
He told Newsweek: ‘The talk around him and the nature of the COVID crisis itself means you’ve got to really want to be in government and really apply yourself. There are things about Johnson that people have questions about — his capacity and whether he wants to do this [in the long term].’
Johnson in recent months has been accused of a lack lustre approach to governing, like across the pond with Donald Trump. He has been criticised for regular holidays, long weekends, and even three hour power naps during the day.
But not only are there questions about whether Johnson wants to server the full time, he said that he could be forced out like his predecessor Theresa May if the tensions in his cabinet become too much.
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‘Whatever Boris wants to do, there are people around him who don’t want to do the same,’ he explained.
‘People like [home secretary] Priti Patel and other ministers around the cabinet table are not happy with big government or even a relatively modest government. There are so many tensions in the Conservative Party about all sorts of things and there are questions about the person in charge about whether he really is in charge.’
Last month a leading polling expert revealed that Keir Starmer could win an election if one is held imminently.
Peter Kellner, former president of polling company YouGov, told The New European that the Labour leader could have enough support to build an electoral consensus between different parties to enter Downing Street.
Ben Page from Ipsos Mori, however, told Newsweek his company’s data suggests that Johnson could still be an electoral asset at the next election, and the public remain relatively supportive of the PM.
He explained: ‘The hill [opposition party] Labour has to climb, the fact that Johnson remains well ahead of [Labour leader] Keir Starmer on who would make best prime minister, the lack of progress so far in Labour being seen as ready to govern all suggest that at least in polling terms, Johnson can win. But, of course, a year is a long time in politics.’
But there are warnings that Johnson should ignore the red wall voters at his own peril, with those who have previously backed Labour but supportive of Brexit likely to decide the prime minister’s future.