Most Tory members say Liz Truss should resign

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
October 18, 2022, 11:00 AM GMT+0

Boris Johnson is the most popular successor

With Liz Truss’s woes continuing to mount – including a recent YouGov survey showing that her net favourability has fallen to -70 among the public – a new YouGov Political Research snap poll of Conservative party members shows that 55% want the prime minister to resign.

Two in five Conservative members (38%) want Truss to remain in post.

These are similar numbers to those Boris Johnson received from the membership on the eve of his departure, when 59% wanted him to go and only 36% wanted him to say.

While most of those members who voted for Liz Truss at the recent leadership election want her to stay (57%), a substantial minority would like her to go (39%).

Who would Conservative members want to succeed Liz Truss?

Were Liz Truss to buckle to such pressure and resign, Tory members would most want to see Boris Johnson brought back to replace her. One in three (32%) say he is the person they would most want to take over, followed by 23% for former chancellor and leadership rival Rishi Sunak and 10% for defence secretary Ben Wallace.

Those who voted for Truss to take over are particularly keen on a Boris Johnson return if she left: 44% put him top of their list of potential successors.

In terms of their capability to handle the role of prime minister, a majority of members think that four from a list of 11 potential successors would be good replacements: Boris Johnson (63%), Ben Wallace (62%), Rishi Sunak (60%) and leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt (54%).

How should a Truss replacement be elected?

Many Conservatives are concerned that having to hold another leadership election in the event that Liz Truss resigned would go down very poorly with the public.

This eventuality seems to be on the minds of party members as well, with 60% saying they would support MPs backing a single unity candidate without the need for an election in the event that Liz Truss stood down. One in three (37%) would oppose this.

Party members are split on whether it would be ok to replicate the previous format of leadership election, with 45% saying they would support MPs whittling a candidates list down to two for party members to vote on, and 50% opposed.

Less popular would be candidates getting around the rules to avoid an election proceeding to the party membership stage. In this scenario MPs would put forward two candidates, but the candidate that saw the lowest support in the final round of MP voting would drop out of the race, thereby making the other candidate the automatic winner under current rules. Half (52%) would oppose such manoeuvres, with 40% supportive.

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