Has Boris even turned the Lefties?

The ever-exuberant mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has won the approval of about half of London's Labour voters, according to a poll. Makes you wonder if he might become PM after all...

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

It’s not often you get Labour voters singing the praises of an arch-Tory. But in the curious case of Boris Johnson, it seems that bumbling charm and cheeky wit are all you need to get voters crossing traditional ideological battle lines. A new YouGov poll has shown that 55% of Labour voters in London think BoJo is doing ‘fairly well’ or ‘very well’. An Old Etonian with a pinko following – whatever next?

It’s not a new thing, either: 49% said the same last year, and even the Lib Dems are joining in the chorus. A massive 69% say he is doing a good job. Weirdly, Tories are the only major party where his popularity has not increased. Nonetheless, the fact that Boris has cross-party appeal will only fuel speculation that he will be in a strong position to put himself forward for the Conservative Party leadership (and therefore PM) when the next election comes in 2015.

YouGov research manager Laurence Janta-Lipinski says: ‘The fact that a Tory mayor is so popular in a city that has been traditionally considered Labour is pretty remarkable, with strong support across the political divide. At a time when Mr Cameron is struggling to marshal the troops, it would not be surprising if these latest findings raised a few brows among Tories unhappy with their current leader.’

Laurence is of course referring to the trouble David Cameron is having controlling his MPs on issues such as the gay marriage bill and whether or not to have a referendum on EU membership. A character like Boris – whom the survey incidentally revealed is seen as ‘sticking to his principles’ – is arguably the leading contender to take Cameron’s crown after all this difficulty.

What the business community would make of Boris as PM is open to question. On the one hand he's willing to stand up for banks and the City to public opprobrium. On the other he comes in for criticism over wheezes such as the Boris Island airport. 

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