Tory Party members would switch back to the Conservative Party in a general election, according to a survey by Orb International for The Daily Telegraph. Their findings show the Tories’ power could increase depending on whether Mr Johnson or Jeremy Hunt win in the Tory leadership race. The former Foreign Secretary, who is the frontrunner to win, has insisted the UK will leave the EU on Halloween with or without a deal.
However Mr Hunt, who voted to Remain, has said he would delay the exit if the UK was close to a deal.
The poll of 511 Tory members showed 35 percent would support the Brexit Party if Brexit isn’t delivered in the allotted time frame.
While only 56 percent of members would still vote Tory if Brexit still isn’t delivered by then.
But 92 percent of Conservative members would flock back to the party if the UK leave by the deadline.
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A source in Mr Johnson’s campaign told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s clear that the only way to take on and defeat Jeremy Corbyn is to prick the twin puffballs of the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems who have been feasting on the Conservative vote due to our inability to deliver Brexit.”
Brexiteer Tim Martin added Mr Johnson’s leadership “could be a useful string to the Brexit bow”.
The JD Weatherspoon boss told the paper: “I think that the reality is that the next prime minister is going to come from the Tory party and Boris has a very close association with Brexit having led the campaign to leave during the referendum.
“I think it’s very important for the country to have a Brexiteer Prime Minister to take advantage of all the opportunities of Brexit and who believes in Brexit.
“He’s a hard worker, he’s charismatic, he’s got strong liberal views. I think he’d make a good Prime Minister.”
The findings come as one of Mr Johnson’s sources said Mr Hunt is unlikely to become part of his Cabinet due to his aggressive campaigning tactics.
The source told the paper: “He has gone all guns blazing on everything. Surely if you knew you were unlikely to win but wanted a good job you would keep it calmer. It is a bizarre strategy.
Asked if this makes it harder for Hunt to stay in the Cabinet the source said: “It makes it more difficult.”