Rishi Sunak has hinted he will make a ‘Lazarus'-style comeback with British audiences, despite a brutal poll on the one-year anniversary of his takeover at No 10.
A new YouGov survey marking the Tory leader's first year as prime minister shows that only one in 10 voters think he is doing a good job.
Half the electorate now think Mr Sunak is doing a poor job at Downing Street – with 25 per cent saying the prime minister has been “poor” and another 25 per cent saying he has been “terrible”.
A third of voters (33 per cent) think he was “average”, just 10 per cent say he was “good” and only 1 per cent think he was a “great” prime minister.
Despite his low personal ratings and terrible national polls for his party, a senior supporter has backed Mr Sunak to a surprise victory in the 2024 general election.
Philip Davis, who presents his own GB News programme, said: “It would be like Lazarus bringing us back since he took over a year ago. But if anyone can do it, I think they could.”
The veteran Shipley MP added: “I couldn't sit here today and say, ‘Oh yeah, we're definitely going to win the next election', I'd be a fool to say that, wouldn't I? We have a mountain to climb and the odds are against us.”
“But if he sort out the big issues facing the country and if we make it a Sunak v Starmer election, rather than Conservative v Labour, then yes, I think we at least have a chance.”
Some Tory MPs sought to take comfort from the by-election upsets in the “ultra-safe” seats of Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire, arguing that turnout was low and few voters were turning to Labour.
But others claimed such views are “misleading” as there is a sense of despair about the party's general election prospects.
“We're going to lose, Rishi failed to make a bold enough comeback,” said one Tory minister The times. “The conference was okay, but it didn't change the dial. These were small policies. It's not enough.”
As the Tory party conference failed to narrow the polls, Mr Sunak was asked to consider a cabinet reshuffle.
There are rumors that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt could be in line for the axe. It follows speculation – denied by Mr Hunt's camp – that he is preparing to stand down at the next election.
“Rishi must begin to wonder in the circumstances whether Hunt's cowardly attitude is what we need,” said a former cabinet minister. The Telegraph.
The Tory right has been out in force since Labor's by-election losses, demanding Mr Sunak bring in tax cuts and push to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if Rwanda's court cases go against the government.
But moderates such as Robert Buckland urged Mr Sunak to focus on reducing inflation and restoring the party's economic credibility.
Meanwhile, the YouGov poll found that Mr Sunak's personal ratings have fallen in several key areas during his 12 months in No 10.
Just 34 percent believe the prime minister is competent – a 16-point drop from a year ago. Only 20 percent say he is strong (down 19 points from last year) and only 20 percent think he is reliable (down 10 points).