Rishi Sunak Has Suffered Two Major Tory Rebellions In A Fresh Blow To His Authority

Rishi Sunak's popularity is plummeting among Tories and the wider public.
Rishi Sunak's popularity is plummeting among Tories and the wider public.

Rishi Sunak's popularity is plummeting among Tories and the wider public.

Rishi Sunak suffered two major backbench rebellions on Monday night as his authority took yet another hammering.

The prime minister was left humiliated after 22 Tory MPs defied him to vote with Labour to back a new body to help infected blood victims get payouts.

That was enough to see the government defeated by 246 votes to 242 - the first time it has lost a Commons vote since Sunak entered No.10 last year.

In a further blow for the PM, an even bigger Conservative rebellion happened less than an hour later, when 26 of his MPs voted against new rules forcing car manufacturers to ensure 22% of their cars are zero emission from January 1.

The government did not lose the vote because Labour voted with the Conservatives.

However, the size of the rebellion is significant because it was enough to overturn the Tories’ Commons majority, meaning Sunak knows he is now more vulnerable in parliament.

Both rebellions were further proof of the prime minister’s dwindling authority among Conservatives as well as the wider electorate.

It also emerged yesterday that the Tories are even less popular among key voters than they were when Liz Truss left office after just 49 days in Downing Street.

At that time, 63% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 - around 6.2 million - said they would do so again at the next election.

But by the end of last month, that had dropped to just 59%.

Meanwhile, Sunak’s popularity among Tory members has also plummeted.

A survey by the ConservativeHome website gave the prime minister an approval rating of minus 25.4 - his lowest ever score.

It means Sunak is currently the least popular member of the cabinet among the Conservative rank-and-file.

The poll took place in the wake of last week’s row with Greece over the Elgin Marbles, in which Sunak cancelled a meeting with the country’s prime minister for re-iterating his desire for the ancient sculpture to be returned to Athens from the UK.

The Tories also remain well behind Labour in the opinion polls, despite the PM’s repeated attempts to revive the party’s fortunes.