Boris Johnson tops Tory leadership poll as rivals set out pitches for the job

Posted On: 
31st March 2019

More voters would back Boris Johnson as the next Conservative leader than any of his potential rivals, a new poll has found.

The poll puts Mr Johnson clear of his nearest rival, Sajid Javid.
Credit: 
PA

A Deltapoll study for the Mail on Sunday put the former foreign secretary on 15% support, a full nine points clear of nearest-rival Sajid Javid on 6%.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove was meanwhile backed by 5% of voters, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on 4%, ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on 2%, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss on just 1%.

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The findings came as a string of Conservatives set out pitches for the top job just days after Theresa May told MPs she will hand over the reins to a new leader if her beleaguered Brexit deal is passed by the Commons.

Former Cabinet minister Justine Greening confirmed she was likely to throw her hat into the ring, telling The Sunday Times she "might well" join the race to succeed Mrs May and warning that the Tories have "failed to connect with people and their ambitions".

Meanwhile Ms Truss told the same paper that the Conservatives needed to win over the "go-getting generation" - and urged the party to "remodernise" with a fresh push for tax cuts.

"We need to be optimistic, aspirational," she said. "We need to participate in the battle of ideas. We haven’t been doing."

Dominic Raab also set out his own plan to combat knife crime - and moved to shut down claims, reportedly pushed by leadership rivals, that he has been involved in bullying.

Revealing that he was at the centre of a bullying allegation when serving as chief of staff to David Davis in the mid-2000s, Mr Raab told the Sunday Times: "In 2007, in a previous role before I became an MP, I was subject to a claim of bullying.

"I vigorously denied the claims, which were independently investigated and found to be unsubstantiated. The claim that I secured an injunction or any kind of ‘gagging’ order is false."

Elsewhere allies of Health Secretary Matt Hancock talked him up as "the only cabinet minister who can properly count" - while it was reported that Sajid Javid is now being advised by former Vote Leave Chief Matthew Elliott.

In a surprise move, The Sunday Mirror reported that former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith - who was ousted by the party in 2003 after two years at the top - is considering putting himself forward for the job.

The paper says the leading Brexiteer would offer to transfer any support garnered among Tory MPs to the leadership frontrunners in exchange for a future government job.

"He has a loyal following amongst older Tory MPs and his votes would be useful to one of the frontrunners," a senior Conservative said.