Boris pays the price for energy crisis and Afghan shambles: Keir Starmer draws level on ‘best PM’ polling for first time EVER as Labour support spikes and Tories slump
- Boris Johnson has seen rating as ‘best PM’ slump amid energy and Afghan chaos
- He is level pegging with Keir Starmer, first time for a Labour leader since 2008
- Downing Street will be alarmed poll was done before fuel panic buying began
Boris Johnson looks to be paying the price for the energy crisis and Afghanistan shambles as a poll today found Keir Starmer has drawn level on ‘best PM’ ratings for the first time.
As the country struggles with fuel shortages and rising prices, research by Ipsos MORI found Mr Johnson has seen his popularity plummet.
He is now neck-and-neck with Sir Keir on 38 per cent on preferences for the premier – the first time a Labour leader has been on an even footing with a Tory since 2008.
Mr Johnson’s rating has plummeted from 47 per cent in March, and in another sign that will set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street the research was done last week before fuel panic buying really kicked in.
Overall Labour support was up six points from August, while the Tories were down two points at 39 per cent.
The results, in a poll for the Evening Standard, are a timely boost for Sir Keir as he attempts to get a grip on his party at its annual conference in Brighton.
Boris Johnson is now neck-and-neck with Keir Starmer on 38 per cent on preference for premier – the first time a Labour leader has been on an even footing with a Tory since 2008
Mr Johnson (pictured putting young son Wilfred into a car in Downing Street today) has seen his rating plummet from 47 per cent in March
Ministers are scrambling for a way to ease the problems caused by a lack of HGV drivers and soaring natural gas prices.
Tens of thousands more Britons are working from home today as the fuel crisis saw up to nine in ten forecourts run dry leaving NHS staff including doctors and nurses without petrol and schools planning a return to online learning because teachers can’t fill up their cars.
The British Medical Association (BMA) called for healthcare staff and essential workers to be given priority to access fuel, warning that as pumps run dry ‘there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs’.
Drivers queued for four hours or more in lines stretching for miles and some even slept in their cars outside petrol stations as it was revealed Boris Johnson could call in the Army to deliver petrol and diesel across Britain amid a crisis that has seen competition laws suspended to allow businesses such as Shell and BP to share drivers.
But his plan to bring in 5,000 foreign lorry drivers to deal with the shortage suffered a major blow after the head of an EU truck union declaring they ‘will not go to the UK for a short term visa to help UK out of the s**t they created themselves’. Edwin Atema, who represents drivers across the EU and Europe said: ‘Before the coronavirus crisis and Brexit this industry was sick already. Plagued by expectation, by irresponsible multinationals who drag down prices, which ended up with drivers voting with their feet and leaving the industry’.
Britain’s biggest petrol retailers have said they expect the crisis to ease in the next three days because once people have a full tank, demand for fuel is likely to fall away by Thursday or Friday. And Downing Street again denied there is a shortage of fuel, saying there are ‘ample stocks in this country’.
But as the PM considered emergency plans to halt the petrol panic, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said the Government has ‘no plans at the moment’ to use soldiers to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations.
The results are a timely boost for Sir Keir as he attempts to get a grip on Labour at the party’s annual conference in Brighton
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