Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will almost certainly lead the Conservative Party into the next general election in 2024. The party remains well behind Labour in the polls and recent surveys have also shown that Sir Keir Starmer’s party are gaining ground in traditional Tory seats. While Mr Sunak hopes he can repair the damage left behind by Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, polling expert Sir John Curtice tells Express.co.uk that the signs are not looking good for the Conservatives.
He explained that, because the country is in an economic crisis, the British public is unlikely to keep the Tories in power. In fact, voters in the UK have a long history of booting out Governments that preside during fiscal turbulence.
Sir John explained: “The history of fiscal crises is this – in 1967, there was the devaluation of the pound which resulted in a Labour defeat in 1970. In 1976, there was the International Monetary Fund crisis which saw Labour lose in 1979.
“In 1992, there was Black Wednesday – the Tories lost in 1997. Then there was the 2008 financial crisis – Labour lost in 2010. This precedent is not happy reading for the Tories.
“The only time a party has been anything like as bad as the current Tory party was John Major’s government. Probably no previous government has been so consistently low in the polls and the only one that was close got clobbered in 1997.”
But Sir John believes that this would not be popular with the public. He continued: “Cutting public spending will not be popular. For the last four or five years we have been at a level where clearly the majority of people want to increase public spending.
“In the post-Covid world where public services are widely regarded as being up the creek, a programme of spending cuts is going to be much more difficult to sell than it was back in 2010.”
The polling expert also thinks that Mr Sunak’s personality could prove to be an issue. He says the British public sees the Prime Minister as “competent” but “out of touch”.
Mr Sunak came under fire when it emerged in April that he had held a US green card – meaning he paid tax to the US on his worldwide income – while he was Chancellor. Mr Sunak clarified that he gave back the green card after discussions with US authorities.
Professor Curtice also listed examples of instances which left gave many the impression he doesn’t understand the everyday life of Britons, adding: “Borrowing someone’s small car to fill it up with petrol….the claim is that he is basically inauthentic. There was also the time he didn’t know how to use a card machine.”
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