In Brief

Keir Starmer closing in on Boris Johnson in polls

Labour leader’s popularity increasing as public support for government’s handling of coronavirus crisis plummets

Boris Johnson’s approval rating has fallen by seven points in less than a fortnight, as rival Keir Starmer’s popularity continues to grow, latest polling figures show.

A Times/YouGov survey found that when asked who would make the best prime minister, 39% of the public backed the man already in the job - down from 46% in early May.

By contrast, the number backing Starmer rose from 22% to 27% in the same period. The increase in the Labour leader’s popularity follows a series of strong performances against Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Starmer’s questioning has left the PM “rattled”, according to The New European. Indeed, “Johnson was left looking exposed and diminished” after their first Commons encounter, says The Guardian.

The swing in popularity also coincides with a drop in public approval for the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

YouGov data “shows that at the end of last week 49% thought the government was doing badly, and 47% that it was doing well”, reports Sky News

A separate Kantar poll found that 43% of those surveyed rated the government’s response to the health crisis as “fairly or very poor, up from 30% in April”, says Reuters.

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Yet there is still a significant gap between the two parties in terms of overall support, with the Tories well ahead.

The Times reports that when asked who they would vote for if there was an election tomorrow, 48% of survey respondents chose the Conservatives, while 33% chose Labour.

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