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Boris Johnson has public's support to shut down Parliament to get Brexit over line, exclusive poll suggests

Boris Johnson, pictured with girlfriend Carrie Symonds at a reception at Downing Street 
Boris Johnson, pictured with girlfriend Carrie Symonds at a reception at Downing Street has the backing of the public over Brexit, a poll has suggested

Boris Johnson has the support of most people who have an opinion to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending Parliament, according to a poll.

The ComRes survey for The Telegraph found that 54 per cent of British adults who expressed a view think Parliament should be prorogued to prevent MPs stopping a no-deal Brexit.

The poll suggested the Prime Minister is more in tune with the public’s views on Brexit than MPs, following his promise to deliver Brexit by October 31 “do or die”.

Brussels has so far refused to give any ground to Mr Johnson on Brexit, but Government sources said on Monday that the EU had not reopened negotiations because it was waiting to see if Remainer rebels would act to try to prevent no deal.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I would hope that the EU now fully understands the UK’s determination to leave the EU on Oct 31, no ifs or buts. We stand ready to negotiate.”

On Monday, John Bolton, the US national security adviser, appeared to put pressure on Brussels by insisting Washington would “enthusiastically” support no deal and was prepared to “fast track” a free trade deal with Britain within a year of it leaving the EU.

Government sources think formal talks with Brussels are unlikely to resume before an EU summit on Oct 17.

Mr Johnson is considering whether to head to France or Germany next week to hold talks with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron ahead of the G7 summit at the end of the month, which will be dominated by environmental issues.

On Monday night Mr Johnson, 55, and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, 31, attended their first public joint engagement together in No 10 when Downing Street hosted a reception for hospice staff.

Officials believe Sept 9 will be the moment that Labour and Tory Remainers will try a parliamentary manoeuvre to stop no deal.

The Government is due to publish an update on Northern Ireland’s attempts to form a devolved administration on Sept 4, and MPs will then be given five days to debate the report. A Government source said: “If they are going to pull a parliamentary stunt that is when they will do it. They [the EU] are going to wait until then to see how this plays out in those two weeks.”

The new poll revealed that, should MPs act to attempt to block Brexit, they may not have the support of voters. Asked whether they thought Parliament was more in tune with the public than Mr Johnson, 62 per cent disagreed.

Nine in 10 of those asked said Parliament was out of touch with the public (88 per cent), while 89 per cent believed most MPs were ignoring the wishes of voters to pursue their own agenda on Brexit. The public also overwhelmingly rejected the idea of the Queen being dragged into Brexit after John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, threatened to send Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, to Buckingham Palace “in a cab” to tell the 93-year-old monarch the Opposition was “taking over” if Mr Johnson were to lose a vote of no confidence but refused to resign.

Asked if the Queen should remain above politics and refuse to get involved in Brexit, 77 per cent said yes and 23 per cent said no.

As well as potentially lacking the support of the public to block a no-deal exit, Remainer MPs may also struggle to get enough support in the Commons.

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, MPs have 14 days to try to form an alternative government in the event of Mr Johnson losing a vote of no confidence, otherwise a general election will be triggered.

On Monday Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, admitted Labour would only table a vote “with confidence we can win”. Insisting the timing of the vote was “above my pay grade”, Ms Abbott confirmed talks with other parties were taking place, but refused to give a precise date.

It came amid reports that a number of Tory rebels have privately admitted that their attempts to overturn the referendum result have failed. One said: “I have to admit it. It’s over. I don’t want to be part of it at all.”

A group of independent and Labour MPs have also told The Telegraph they are unlikely to back a confidence vote owing to concerns it could put Mr Corbyn in Downing Street. A senior Labour MP also claimed that “at least 10” of their colleagues who now intend to vote for a Brexit deal would also vote with the Government.

The Institute for Government has claimed “time is running out” for MPs trying to block no deal, concluding that “simply voting against” no deal could not stop Mr Johnson. In its new paper, the think tank concludes that some of the previous legislative avenues were no longer available and that Downing Street could simply “ignore” their opposition in parliament.

Lord Lisvane, the former Clerk of the House of Commons, said Mr Johnson could suspend the Commons through a “Sitting of the House Motion” to prevent MPs trying to coalesce around a viable alternative to his administration.

However, the peer, who served as the most senior constitutional adviser to the House, said: “To do so would be an open subversion of the (admittedly unsatisfactory) FTPA process, and would be open to fierce (and justified) criticism.”

Conservatives pull away with largest poll lead of the year

The poll has also revealed that the Conservatives have widened their lead on the Brexit Party by 15 percentage points since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

ComRes’ poll of latest voting intentions for the Telegraph shows the Tories in the lead with 31 per cent of the vote, compared with Labour on 27 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party tied on 16 per cent. The jump ahead for the Tories represents ComRes’ largest Conservative lead of the year.

Among Leave voters, Mr Johnson’s party now leads the polls with 46 per cent of the vote, while the Lib Dems’ vote share has gone down by three percentage points since Jo Swinson became leader at the end of last month.

According to Electoral Calculus, a polling firm that translates voting intention into constituency gains and losses, if the parties went on to achieve these vote shares at a general election it would result in the Conservatives being the largest party but 5 seats short of a majority (Con 321, Lab 235, LD 37, SNP 34, Brex 1, PC 3, Grn 1).

Andrew Hawkins, ComRes chairman, said: “This poll is confirmation that the 'Boris bounce' is real and shows no sign of disappearing despite the Parliamentary break.

“Boris’s support has been boosted by him outperforming expectations, including among a third of Labour and Lib Dem voters.

“It will not be lost on Jeremy Corbyn as he contemplates attempting to call a vote of no confidence that Boris could win an election with barely a third of the vote because support is so fragmented across all the parties.”

The survey also found that Mr Johnson has confounded expectations since he took office, with 54 per cent agreeing he had been a better PM than they expected compared with 46 per cent who disagreed.

He was most popular with 2017 Conservative voters, with four in five (79 per cent) believing he has done better than they thought he would, compared with 32 per cent of Labour voters and three in 10 Lib Dems (30 per cent).

But Mr Johnson proved most popular with Brexit Party voters, with nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) being impressed with his premiership so far.

Mr Hawkins added: “If Boris can deliver Brexit, without too much collateral damage to the economy, he stands to win big. He is within touching distance of an overall majority even without the support of the one in five 2017 Tory voters who are still lending their support to the Brexit Party.

“If he can woo them back by delivering on his promise to leave the EU, apparently even if it means suspending Parliament, then he could well be on track to win a working majority”.

Yet there was little hope among all voters that Mr Johnson could unify the country, with 63 per cent saying he could not, compared with nearly two in five who said he could (37 per cent).

However, when asked if Parliament was more in tune with the British public than Mr Johnson, Labour voters were split 50:50 on the issue while only one in five Tory voters thought MPs were more in tune with the public than the Prime Minister was.

Revealing a shocking lack of trust in elected politicians, 88 per cent of Labour voters and 86 per cent of Conservatives feel Parliament is out of touch with the British public. Nine in ten Leave voters (92 per cent) and eight in ten Remain voters (81 per cent) agreed.

Nearly all those intending to vote Conservative (96 per cent) or the Brexit Party (98 per cent) agreed MPs were self-serving, as did more than four in five adults intending to vote Labour at the next election (85 per cent).

The British public appeared split over whether Brexit should be halted if problems over the Northern Ireland border threaten to split the Union, with 51 per cent agreeing versus 49 per cent who disagreed.

Voters were also worried about the effects of no deal, with 74 per cent concerned it would increase the cost of living, 65 per cent fearful it would affect the supply of medicines and 57 per cent afraid it would affect fresh food supplies.

Fewer people were worried about it affecting air travel at 44 per cent or mobile roaming charges in the EU (37 per cent). The poll found more people were worried about the rights of UK citizens in the EU being adversely affected (51 per cent) than the rights of EU nationals living in the UK (49 per cent).

ComRes surveyed 2,011 British adults on 9th – 11th August 2019. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. All questions were also weighted by past vote recall and likelihood to vote. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

CLARIFICATION:  The 54 per cent figure reported in this article represents the proportion of respondents in the ComRes poll who agreed that the Prime Minister "needs to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending Parliament if necessary". This figure however excludes those who expressed no view. Of all respondents, 44 per cent agreed, 37 per cent disagreed and 19 per cent didn't know.