‘Lightweight Boris might be a good laugh, but Keir Starmer is serious contender’

The real story behing Boris Johnson’s poll lead is that levels of trust in Labour leader Starmer outstrip the Prime Minister’s and we’re seeing Keir Starmer with fresh eyes

Voters show overwhelming disapproval at the way Boris Johnson has conducted his personal life

Boris Johnson is not exactly weightless. But he does seem to have an uncanny knack of defying political gravity.

Our exclusive poll today shows the Tories still leading Labour – and voters seeing Mr Johnson as a better PM than Keir Starmer.

This is despite Britain having the highest number of Covid cases in Western Europe and, to our shame, the most deaths.

It is despite Mr Johnson’s conference speech on Wednesday, heavy on linguistic flourishes but light on any actual substance.

It is despite all his hypocritical talk of levelling up, when his scrapping of the Universal Credit uplift the same day will instead see 3.2 million working families ground down.

And it is despite voters showing overwhelming disapproval at the way Mr Johnson has conducted his personal life.

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We accept the success of vaccinations has created a feelgood factor after 18 months of absolute misery. And we welcome the new freedoms that we all enjoy as a result.

Yet all this does not mean the Labour leader is failing to cut through. Our findings also show that voters are seeing Sir Keir with fresh eyes.

They trust the Labour leader more. And trust is the bedrock of good government.

They believe Sir Keir’s promises to look after the NHS and to carry out his planned reforms to education. Crucially, they even now think he would not tax them as much.

We can see why Mr Johnson would be a good laugh on a night out. But being Prime Minister is a serious business.

Sir Keir recognises that. Mr Johnson does not.

Same old story

When Boris Johnson messes up, it is the elderly who so often suffer the most.

That is what happened when Covid patients were discharged from hospitals into care homes, allowing the disease to run riot there.

And they are set to suffer again. A million older people are already in fuel poverty – and that number will rise as average energy bills hit £2,000 a year for the first time.

It is not entirely the PM’s fault that supplies have gone haywire, sending prices soaring.

Higher worldwide demand, lower stocks and less gas from Russia have all played their part.

But it is entirely his responsibilty to ensure that our frail old folk are protected from the worst effects of the coming winter.

He could do that by upping the £200 winter fuel allowance, or by introducing age-related price caps on power company charges.

What he must not do is allow the elderly to freeze to death. We’ve lost too many already.

Safety dance

You can see why Strictly bigwigs might want to ban contestants from partying this year.

Jabs may have reduced the chances of catching Covid but they have not eliminated it.

If dancers waltzed off and got into a tango with a sufferer the whole show could go boleros.

They’d have to call it Sickly Come Dancing.

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