How Long Will Boris Johnson Last as UK Prime Minister?

How Long Will Boris Johnson Last as UK Prime Minister?
© PA

Boris Johnson looks all set to see out his term as UK prime minister and could even take the Conservatives into the next general election, recent polls and betting data suggests.

The PM and his ruling Conservative government are experiencing a surge in popularity not seen since he won an 80-seat majority for the Tories at the 2019 election.

Johnson, who has endured major fluctuations in his personal approval ratings since taking office in the summer of 2019, recently set out his “roadmap” for easing the UK out of Covid-19 lockdown.

And the success of the vaccination drive that to date has seen over 22 million Brits receive a first dose has eased the strain on the current government.

Yet what appears to have given Johnson a figurative shot in the arm when it comes to his political future is the floundering of opposition parties Labour and the SNP.

Johnson Exit Date

According to the latest betting odds, Johnson has an 87.5% chance of remaining as PM into 2022. Indeed, with odds of 1/2 at bookmaker Unibet, he is also odds-on to still be in the job past 2023.

The next UK election is scheduled for 2024 unless a snap vote is called before then. But with the Tories currently enjoying a relatively strong majority in Parliament there appears little chance of them agreeing to an election before that.

There were reports towards the end of 2020 that Johnson could call it quits after a harrowing 12 months in office where the pandemic, economic recession, school exams fiasco, the Dominic Cummings scandal and a personal battle with Covid-19 left the reputation of Johnson’s government in tatters.

Indeed, at one stage the PM had a 59% disproval rating amongst the British public.

More people still disprove of him than approve, but since the turn of the year when the vaccine drive has kicked into gear that Tories are polling 13 points higher than Labour – despite a recent lockdown lasting almost three months.

Labour and SNP Issues

What’s more, Johnson’s current standing is being helped by issues amongst the UK’s two main opposition parties. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has struggled to pin down the government on problems around the NHS, teaching and jobs – and has been criticised among the left for not taking a firm enough stance against Johnson. Starmer’s disproval rating has rocketed.

Meanwhile, the SNP is embroiled in an inquiry into how the party handled sexual harassment allegations of Alex Salmond – something that threatens to destabilise the party and set back their plans for IndyRef2.

All the while the Conservatives grow in popularity despite overseeing the largest death toll from Covid-19 in Europe and issues caused by Brexit.

Johnson’s roadmap, which aims to have complete lockdown lifted by the summer, appears to have earned him political credit among voters. How long this will last as the economic impact of coronavirus is felt remains to be seen.

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