‘Boris will not be in charge’ New ‘People’s favourite’ emerges to lead Tory party

Techne’s Michela Morizzo explains findings of exclusive polling

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Polling company Techne UK found 14 percent of the 66 percent of non-Conservatives in their weekly tracker poll would be willing to switch support if there was a new leader. The findings suggest Mr Johnson’s political life is still potentially in a precarious position after months of damaging accusations of lockdown rule breaking in Downing Street. 

But top of the alternatives to replace Mr Johnson is Mr Wallace, a close friend and ally of the Prime Minister, who has won admiration for his handling of the Ukraine war.

He polls nine percent for people more likely to vote Conservative if he was leader ahead of former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and current Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the bookie’s favourite, all on six percent.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, seen as the dark horse candidate, comes in fifth on three percent and Home Secretary Priti Patel comes in sixth on two percent.

But the figures become more stark among those who identify as 2019 Tory voters.

In that group, Mr Wallace gets 25 percent ahead of Ms Truss on 19 percent, while Mr Hunt and Ms Mordaunt are both on 18 percent. 

Chief executive of Techne Michela Morizzo said: “The data clearly shows that a strong and recognised alternative leader to Boris Johnson hasn’t yet been established in public opinion.

“They are all appreciated but none at the moment seemed to have assumed the role of leader in waiting in the voters’ mind.”

The issue has, according to some Tory MPs, prevented them from sending in a letter to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady calling for a vote of confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership.

One MP told Express.co.uk that the removal of Rishi Sunak from the race because of an expose over his wife’s tax arrangements had made it more difficult.

“There is no clear leader in waiting, no obvious heir apparent,” they said.

Another MP added: “None of the alternatives really ticks all the boxes.”

But Mr Wallace is receiving growing support among party members and its major donors.

Businessman Nicholas Bacon, who until recently was a significant Conservative donor, has become a self declared “recalcitrant Tory” over Mr Johnson’s leadership.

He told Express.co.uk: “I’m making two predictions now on the record. Johnson won’t lead into the next election and Ben Wallace will.”

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