- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
With rumours of a rift growing between Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the public appear to be much more of a fan of the chancellor.
According to polling for the Daily Mail, more than half of Tory voters want Sunak to take over from Johnson as PM – with nearly half (47%) believing the handover should take place within a year.
When asked if the chancellor should take over when Johnson eventually steps down, 56% of Conservative voters say he should – compared to just 18% who disagree.
Downing Street has sought to quell reports of a damaging rift between the pair, with the prime minister’s official spokesman saying Johnson continued to have full confidence in his neighbour in No 11.
It followed reports at the weekend that Johnson had threatened to demote Sunak to health secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle.
The Daily Mail polling of 1,019 adults also found that 42% of all voters think Sunak would make a better PM, compared to 24% who think Johnson should stay on.
Watch: Boris Johnson urges 'patience' over travel restrictions
And while Downing Street dismissed the rift rumours, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng acknowledged that there was a degree of “creative tension” between the two most important figures at the top of the government.
Reports of tension between the two intensified after The Sunday Times reported a furious Johnson going “tonto” after a letter from the chancellor calling for travel restrictions to be lifted was leaked to the press.
Johnson’s spokesman refused to be drawn directly on the PM’s reported comments, said to have been made in an “open meeting”.
He insisted however that there were no plans for a reshuffle and that the two men were working “in lockstep”.
“The prime minister and the chancellor have always enjoyed a close and effective working relationship, and will continue to do so,” the spokesman said.
“I think you can see, particularly during the pandemic, they have worked closely together.
“They have been in lockstep throughout this incredibly challenging period for the country.
“There no plans for any reshuffle.”
The reports come as the government prepares for the autumn spending review, with Sunak thought to be more focused than Johnson on rebuilding the public finances following the pandemic.
Watch: Lammy blasts PM's comments on Thatcher coal mine closures