As bookmakers installed the former foreign secretary as 2-1 favourite, the Hanbury poll suggests that of six leading Tories, all except Mr Johnson would lose the party votes if they were leader. The poll also confirms that Bojo, as he is widely known, is the only candidate able to stem the tide of Tory voters planning to opt for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party at next week’s European election. Tory voters in the 2017 general election were asked if a candidate’s leadership would make them more or less likely to vote for the party again at the next general election. The net result placed Boris Johnson with plus 2 per cent. Home Secretary Sajid Javid came next on minus 8 per cent, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt scored minus 9 per cent, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab minus 11 per cent, Environment Secretary Michael Gove minus 13 per cent and Work and Pension Secretarys Amber Rudd minus 15 per cent.
Net scores among people planning to vote for the Brexit Party next week – when asked if their leadership would make them more or less likely to vote Tory at the next general election – put Mr Johnson on plus 13 per cent, Mr Raab on minus 22 per cent, Mr Gove on minus 27 per cent, Mr Hunt on minus 28 per cent, Mr Javid on minus 35 per cent and Ms Rudd on minus 43 per cent.
Despite being gaffe-prone, Mr Johnson is the only other British politician with Mr Farage’s “rock star” appeal.
But the MP yesterday was staying tight-lipped about his leadership ambitions.
The former mayor of London visited Cowley St Laurence primary in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency to open a new playground gym.
There he met pupils and tried out the equipment, including a leg press and an air skier.
His visit came 24 hours he confirmed his intention to run for Number 10.
Theresa May will agree the timetable for her departure after the next vote on her Brexit deal in June, kick-starting the official race to succeed her.