The leader of Britain’s main opposition party, Labour’s Keir Starmer, has for the first time moved ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a major opinion poll Sunday.
The Opinium poll for the Observer newspaper has given Starmer a four-point lead over Johnson.
In a double blow for the Johnson, the Labour party has also gained a three-point lead over the Conservatives who currently have an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons.
Labour gained 42 percent support in the poll, the first time the party has been in the lead since July 2019 when the then Prime Minister Theresa May left 10 Downing Street. Johnson’s Conservative Party were given 39 percent of the vote.
The newspaper commented that the results mark an extraordinary change in fortunes for Britain’s two main parties.
Pollsters asked people who would make the best prime minister for Britain, with 55 percent backing Starmer, four points more than votes for Johnson, with the Observer suggesting the result will stir more unrest among Conservative MPs over the performance of the prime minister.
The Observer commented the result represents a rapid reversal, adding that just six months ago the Conservatives recorded a 26 point lead over the second place Labour in the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Approval of government handling of coronavirus then stood at two-thirds (65 percent) of the public. The latest poll shows only 30 percent now approve,” the newspaper added.
“The underlying polling results suggest that government failings have contributed to Labour’s lead,” the commentary continued.
Opinium’s Adam Drummond said: “The Labour Party has finally caught up with its leader in polling. While this is the first time since Boris Johnson became prime minister that Labour has been ahead of the Conservatives on vote share, Starmer has had better approval ratings than the prime minister for some time, and the two leaders have tended to draw on the question of who would be the better prime minister. Now the Labour leader has pulled ahead on that measure as well.”
Drummond said while there is strong public support for the new COVID-19 restrictions announced by the British government earlier this week, they have not yet resulted in the sort of boost to the government’s approval rating that the initial lockdown measures brought in March.