What Brits currently think of Boris Johnson (and it's not pretty)

Could this be the moment the man once famously dubbed the 'greased piglet' is ousted from public life?

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MAY 23: Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during a tour after a meeting with Gov. Greg Abbott at the Texas State Capitol on May 23, 2023 in Austin, Texas. Gov. Abbott met with Johnson to discuss economic development. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson remains at the centre of UK politics nearly a year after announcing his resignation as prime minister. (Getty Images)

It’s nearly a year since Boris Johnson reluctantly brought an end to his scandal-hit premiership with his resignation statement outside No 10 Downing Street.

Most prime ministers - think Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown - fade from the public conscience relatively quickly when they step down.

But it feels like Johnson is still talked about as much now as when he led the country for three years.

And now he has resigned as an MP after receiving the report on whether he lied to Parliament over the Partygate scandal.

Johnson did not leave quietly, accusing the Commons inquiry of attempting to "drive me out" and comparing the investigation to a "kangaroo court" in a lengthy statement.

Here, Yahoo News UK takes a look at the polling which shows what Britons currently think of the former prime minister and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Two-thirds thought Johnson should resign

The Privileges Committee report centres around whether Johnson lied to MPs about COVID lockdown-busting parties which were held in Downing Street.

While PM, Johnson assured MPs “all guidance was followed completely in Number 10”. He could face suspension from the Commons if the committee finds him in contempt of Parliament.

YouGov polling released before his resignation on Friday suggested it would be difficult for Johnson to ever recover his standing among the public.

Watch: Boris Johnson asked about behaviour during COVID pandemic (from 1 June)

A survey of 2,071 British adults carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday suggested:

  • 68% of people thought he should resign if found to have intentionally misled the Commons

  • 56% think he lied and should be held accountable. A further 29% think he lied but that the debate should move on. Either way, that’s 85% who think Johnson is a liar, with only 5% who think he didn’t lie

  • Only 26% thought Johnson would be an MP after the next election

  • 60% think the inquiry into his conduct is fair

That is a representation of the general public’s thoughts, but now there will be a by-election - and it seems the opinions of Uxbridge and South Ruislip's residents are crucial if the Conservative Party is to retain its seat.

Hope for the Tories?

Back in December 2019, Yahoo News UK spent a day in Uxbridge town centre for a (by no means scientific) survey of his constituents a week before the general election. Given his Brexit stance at the time, Johnson was arguably as divisive then as he is now.

Yet for all the shoppers who called him a “p****” and a “t***”, there was just as much affection from others, with one even saying she admired his “umbrella of stupidness”.

And even post-Partygate, it seems some of that affection remains in the constituency, according to some polling.

UXBRIDGE, ENGLAND - MAY 26: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson plays a game of boules with resident Mavis Slade as he makes a constituency visit to Sweetcroft care home on May 26, 2022 in Uxbridge, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson visiting a care home in Uxbridge in May last year. (Getty Images)

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Tory peer Lord Ashcroft released a poll on Tuesday which found more voters said Johnson was a good or great MP (39%) than a bad or terrible one (26%).

Ashcroft, though, admitted there were several reasons - from Labour’s strong national standing to further “shattering” revelations potentially emerging about Johnson - to be sceptical about his results. And another Tory polling expert, Lord Hayward, said a few months back that “there’s no question the party would face defeat to Labour”.

Either way, the underlying appeal of Johnson - the “greased piglet” as he was once famously labelled - has been underestimated many times before. Could it happen again?