Tories on brink after ‘build up of sleaze’ mirrors Nineties downfall

Boris Johnson: NHS will be under pressure for 'weeks'

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Boris Johnson faced a tumultuous December in which he and members of his party were dogged by allegations that they had broken coronavirus rules a year earlier by holding a Christmas party. Mr Johnson vehemently denied the reports, yet the New Year has seen further claims made against the Prime Minister. Yesterday Mr Johnson was accused of failing to self-isolate last January despite coming into close contact with a Downing Street videographer who tested positive.

Sources claimed that the Number 10 aide stood “close” to Mr Johnson as the Prime Minister recorded his New Year message.

According to The Mirror report, though other colleagues in the room were subsequently asked to self-isolate, the Prime Minister was not among them.

Just five days later the country entered its third national lockdown.

Mr Evans, who is a political scientist and Sociology of Politics professor at the University of Oxford, claimed that the Conservative Party had seen a “build up of complacency” since they took power in 2010.

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He told “Back in the Nineties, John Major, a very safe pair of hands, was leading a party that was riddled with sleaze and all sorts of people were doing dodgy things. 

“That did cost them eventually.

“That happened because they had been in power since 1979 and the big risk with this current party is that they’re in the same scenario. 

“They’ve been in power for 11 years now.

“It’s just historically true that you tend to get a build up in complacency and potentially even corruption when people assume that they are going to be carrying on in positions and not feel that they have to try too hard.”

In 2019, the Conservatives won a landslide majority of 80 seats.

Under Mr Johnson, they also made a net gain of 48 seats while securing 43.6 percent of the popular vote, which was the highest percentage for any party since 1979. 

However, Mr Evans argued that the massive majority has meant some Tory politicians have not felt the need to comply with certain Government conventions, including individual ministerial responsibility.

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Individual ministerial responsibility sees a Cabinet minister bare the ultimate responsibility for the failings of its department.

Mr Evans said: “Obviously an 80 seat majority is pretty damn impressive in current politics and that is not helpful in getting people to play ball in terms of the grand traditions of falling on your sword if you do anything unseemly.

“Sleaze ‒ Nineties Tories. Sleaze ‒ Twenties Tories. There’s a clear link. 

“They lost in ‘97 kind of badly, but it’s fair to say they lost to Tony Blair and Blair was a big heavyweight contributor to the amount of votes Labour got.”

A new poll published over the weekend suggested that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had won back voters in the ‘red wall’.

A number of the red wall constituencies, which have historically voted for the Labour Party, turned blue in the 2019 general election.

The Deltasurvey poll, which was published in the Mail on Sunday, also suggested that a majority of the population doubted whether Mr Johnson would be Prime Minister in a year’s time.

In the 57 constituencies the Conservatives gained in 2019, 38 percent of voters agreed Sir Keir would make the best Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson had the support of just 33 percent of those surveyed.

Labour were also projected to be ahead of the Tories when it came to voting intention in those seats.

The poll also suggested that Labour were five points ahead of the Tories nationwide, and that if its results were repeated in a general election it would cost the Conservatives more than 100 seats.

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