Two-thirds of Scots still believe Boris Johnson should resign over Partygate, poll reveals

Boris Johnson should still resign over the Partygate scandal, say the vast majority of Scots, according to a new poll.

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The figures will come as a blow to the Prime Minister as he is welcomed to Scotland for the Scottish Conservative conference in Aberdeen today.

However, the survey results indicate a swing in favour of Mr Johnson staying in position among Scottish Tory voters, which could help save his job when the final police investigation into Partygate is concluded.

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Boris Johnson was in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia prior to his trip to Scotland for the Scottish Conservative conferenceBoris Johnson was in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia prior to his trip to Scotland for the Scottish Conservative conference
Boris Johnson was in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia prior to his trip to Scotland for the Scottish Conservative conference

The poll, undertaken by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman, interviewed 1,008 Scottish adults aged 16 or over between March 10 and 16.

Mr Johnson’s appearance at the conference had been in doubt following the decision by Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, to call for the resignation of Mr Johnson and submit a letter of no confidence to the backbench Tory 1922 committee.

Initially, the party said he would speak via video link to members before committing to an in-person speech.

Then, last week, Mr Ross backtracked on his calls for the Prime Minister to go, having previously described Mr Johnson’s position as “untenable” and the wait for enough letters of no confidence to spark a leadership election a “rollercoaster ride"..

Announcing his U-turn, he said: “The middle of an international crisis is not the time to be discussing resignations, unless it’s the removal from office of Vladimir Putin

The SNP said his decision was an “utterly humiliating U-turn”, while the Liberal Democrats said he had “the backbone of a jellyfish”.

New figures suggest the vast majority of Scots still want to see Mr Johnson resign and leave Downing Street, with 69 per cent stating they agreed with the statement “Boris Johnson should resign over Partygate”.

A further 23 per cent of Scots said he should not resign, with 8 per cent stating they did not know.

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In January, when asked whether specified individuals involved in the Partygate scandal should resign, 78 per cent of Scots said the Prime Minister should resign.

However, the figures are not directly comparable due to a change in the wording of the question that was posed.

In the new poll, 60 per cent of Scottish Conservative voters believe Mr Johnson should stay, while one in three (30 per cent) believe he should resign, the poll shows.

The January poll was more worrying for the Prime Minister, with half (50 per cent) of Tory voters in Scotland calling for him to resign.

Scots were split over whether the Prime Minister’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine had improved their view of him, with 25 per cent stating they viewed him more positively than before.

However, 28 per cent said they viewed him more negatively, with 45 per cent stating Mr Johnson’s handling of the crisis had made “no difference” to their view of him.

Regardless, Mr Johnson has seen a bounce in popularity in Scotland, with his net favourability at -51 per cent, up 11 points from January and no longer joint worst with former first minister Alex Salmond on -62 per cent.

The UK Government has also seen an increase in favourability of eight points, with a net rating of -42 per cent.

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Mr Ross, who was backed by 80 per cent of Scots in regards to his demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation, has seen a small dip in popularity of two points to -23 per cent.

However, his party is viewed as not having strong leadership, with 56 per cent of Scots stating the characteristic does not apply to the Scottish Conservatives versus 29 per cent who said it does.

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

It's available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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