Finally some good news for Theresa May. After a tawdry few weeks in which Conservative MPs have taken to Twitter, newspapers and the airwaves to criticise the Prime Minister, May’s premiership looks on shaky ground. Reports on the number of letters calling for a confidence vote in May are said to be getting perilously close to the magic number required.
But any MPs considering firing off a letter to Sir Graham Brady – the chair of the 1922 committee – would be well-advised to look at the latest YouGov/WPI poll first. In a survey of Conservative voters (which took place 28-29 January), over two thirds back Theresa May to remain as Prime Minister. 69pc of people who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2017 general election think Theresa May should continue as Prime Minister, with only 18pc saying that she should stand down and let someone else takeover.
In terms of the general public – voters of all parties – support for the Prime Minister to continue in the job is at 41pc – 34pc say she should go and 25pc just don’t know. Curiously, this is pretty much the same level of support that she had at the start of November last year – so the findings seem to suggest that the latest bout of anxiety by Tory MPs is felt by them alone.
What ought to worry any Conservatives adamant that a leadership contest is preferable to the status quo is that there’s a very good chance May’s replacement could lose the party support. The findings found that alternative candidates are more likely to drive support away from the Conservative Party. Although Boris Johnson is expected to entice 11pc of those surveyed to turn blue – another 20pc said they would be less likely to vote for the party.
Of course, a leadership contest at this point in the Brexit negotiations would be so unpredictable it’s impossible to say what would happen and who would win. It could be a candidate no-one expects wins and they go on to turn the party’s fortunes around. But today’s findings should serve as a reminder to down-hearted MPs that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.