Reform UK leader Richard Tice has warned Boris Johnson to expect an upset at future by-elections. This comes after a surprisingly strong showing at Old Bexley & Sidcup for the party, formerly known as the Brexit Party, which landed them in third place. Polling expert Sir John Curtice backed Mr Tice’s warning, claiming that support for Reform UK suggests a major fracturing of the Conservative’s right-wing support.
Mr Johnson is understood to be wary of a stunning by-election upset when North Shropshire voters choose an MP to succeed Owen Paterson on 16 December.
The Prime Minister will order his cabinet to conduct a canvassing “blitz” before the vote later this month amid fears there will be a poor turnout of lifelong Conservative voters.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Tice revealed that Reform UK “secured as many votes as the Lib Dems and Greens put together”.
He also said that the Tory victory in Old Bexley & Sidcup “was a tribute to the late James Brokenshire” and not a vote for Mr Johnson.
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Mr Tice explained: “In future by-elections, that could be very different because you won’t have that level of affection.
“The big change on the doors was that Boris Johnson was viewed not as an asset by lifelong Tory voters but as a liability.
“It reminded me of Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, when he was a liability to the Labour Party.
“I had lifelong Tory voters tell me they won’t vote Conservative again until Boris Johnson is gone.
This comes as Sir John Curtice warned that Brexit may be Boris Johnson’s downfall if the public believes leaving the European Union has not delivered for the UK.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Professor Curtice claimed Mr Johnson will only retain Leave voters if they are convinced Brexit is working.
He claimed issues such as the petrol shortage and the lorry driver crisis may begin to reduce Mr Johnson’s popularity.
Mr Johnson’s approval rating has recently plummeted from 66 percent in April to 29 percent in the latest YouGov polling.