Tory leadership race: Boris Johnson set for landslide victory, poll reveals

Harriet Brewis

Boris Johnson is set to storm into Downing Street with a landslide victory this month, a poll of Conservative Party members has revealed.

Mr Johnson is backed to become the next party leader by 74 per cent of members, with Jeremy Hunt on 26 per cent, according to a poll taken by YouGov and The Times.

It comes as Tories began receiving ballot papers to cast their votes in the leadership race, which will lead to the naming of a new Prime Minister on July 23.

Mr Hunt has urged party members to delay their votes until after two televised events next week, which will start with Tuesday’s head-to-head debate aired on ITV.

Mr Hunt urged voters to 'try before they buy' by waiting to see the two candidates in a head-to-head debate. (PA)

“The big message I want to give to Conservative Party members is wait to see me and Boris in action on the TV debates. Try before you buy,” he said in an interview with The Times.

The second TV event will take place next Friday, when Andrew Neil will interview both candidates consecutively on the BBC.

The latest survey indicates most Tories do not believe Mr Hunt is prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.

Only 27 per cent think Mr Hunt would force through a no-deal Brexit, compared to 90 per cent for Mr Johnson.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has insisted most MPs oppose a no-deal Brexit.

Philip Hammond said he would 'continue to argue against a no-deal exit', even from the backbenches.

He said it would be “shocking” if parliament were “side-lined”, adding he and other MPs will "find a way" of blocking a no-deal.

However, 67 per cent of members said it would be acceptable to suspend parliament to stop MPs blocking that outcome, according to the YouGov/Times poll.

Seventy-seven per cent of Tories also considered Mr Johnson’s private life “not relevant” to his suitability as prime minister.

This finding suggests why he has retained a commanding lead despite media coverage of a row with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds last month.

Asked if the UK will have left the EU by the October 31 deadline, pollsters deemed it 87 per cent likely under Mr Johnson, compared to 18 per cent under Mr Hunt.