Few Britons think Boris Johnson will ever resign over ‘partygate’

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
February 03, 2022, 4:16 PM GMT+0

As the scandal looks set to drag on, Britons tend to think the media has over-reported the story

Pressure continues to mount for Boris Johnson over the ‘partygate’ scandal as opposition MPs, his own MPs, and former Conservative ministers call for him to resign. Several Conservative MPs have gone a step further in publicly announcing their letters of no confidence in his leadership. Johnson has even faced challenging questions from his predecessor Theresa May over the issue.

Despite the considerable pressure to resign from all sides, Johnson remains steadfast and refuses to bow out – and few Britons think he will break now. Only 31% of the public think it is likely he will eventually resign over the alleged parties, while 58% think it is unlikely he will do so – including 20% who think a resignation is “not likely at all”.

This is a view held by both Conservatives and Labour voters, with six in ten of both voting blocs (60-61%) thinking it unlikely Boris Johnson will resign. Around a third (31-33%) think it is likely he will eventually step down due to the scandal.

This scepticism is not from a lack of desire, however. The proportion of people who want Johnson to resign remains constant, with 60% currently saying he should go (-3 from our last survey on 31 January). Some 26% think he should remain in his role (+1).

A firm majority of 2019 Conservative voters now think he should remain, however (55%, up 4pts), while the proportion thinking he should go has dropped 4pts to 34%.

Britons tend to think there has been too much press coverage of partygate

The continued revelations about the events inside 10 Downing Street, as well as the release of the preliminary report by Sue Gray and the police investigation, has resulted in wall-to-wall coverage of partygate – repeatedly making the front pages of the papers.

However, the initial report that there might have been prohibited events held in Downing Street came in late November, meaning the story has been running for two months already – with the finale yet to come. Despite the lack of a conclusion, the public already tend to think the media has over-reported the story (40%). Another 34% think the coverage of the scandal has been “about right” and 13% say there has been “too little” coverage.

Unsurprisingly, Conservatives are much more likely to say there has been too much coverage of the story in the press (68%), while 20% say it has been “about right”. This compares to half of Labour voters (54%) who think there has been roughly the right amount the press coverage.

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