Boris Johnson has gone from a ‘very, very strong position’ to a weak one, says polling expert
PUBLISHED: 10:15 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:21 21 April 2020
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Polling expert Sir John Curtice has said that Boris Johnson has gone from a ‘very, very strong position’ to one that is considerably ‘weaker’.
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The pollster and professor of politics said that the government’s agenda “has been torn to shreds” by the coronavirus outbreak.
Curtice told the Express: “The government’s given the go-ahead for HS2 but how much we’re going to be able to borrow on top of what’s going to go out for coronavirus? There must be question marks there.
“And of course, the other battle, the thing which have to face at some point, which they will have to make a decision about is about Brexit.”
Referencing a decision about whether to extend the transition period or press ahead with Brexit regardless, Curtice said: “There could be a very tough call there.”
He said that Boris Johnson had used Brexit to strengthen his position in the general election at the end of last year through the general election.
“Brexit potentially now becomes a source of division because obviously, Johnson’s strength has been basically been that he went for the Leave camp, won an election, took out of his party all the people who were serious doubters about it and was in a very, very strong position.”
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But he warned that his position was either “weaker” or headed in that direction as a result of question marks over Brexit and the agenda he set being torn apart.
“The risk he faces is domestic agenda is, for the time being, at least, ripped up.
“So to that extent, he either is or is at least potentially weaker.”
And he added that the Sunday Times exposé has demonstrated his weaknesses over handling a crisis.
He said: “The Sunday Times piece, I think, in a sense was trying to feed on a criticism that is often made of Johnson, which is that he’s not a man for detail and that he tends to have a sunny disposition he’s always wanting to talk things up.
“These criticisms are quite difficult to manage because Johnson quite early on said ‘we’ve got to defeat this virus and then we can get on with everything else’.
“And actually this is why this exit strategy so difficult. Defeat is pretty probably not a word, at the moment which is likely to be in the lexicon and the absence of a great deal of luck about the sickness dying out in the summer position or medicine taking over.
And how he manages that can be quite difficult because this will not be about sunny uplands in the wake of us liberating ourselves from the European Union, it will be about difficult trade-offs between your grandad’s health and your job.”
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