Conservative Party donor says Rishi Sunak is not ‘right as a prime minister, full stop’

Conservative Party donor Lady McAlpine has said she would not vote for Rishi Sunak at the next election, saying he is not “right as a prime minister”.

Lady McAlpine, a Boris Johnson loyalist who recently commissioned a poll indicating the former prime minister would perform better at an election than Sunak, was asked yesterday if she would vote for the current PM. 

She told Sky News: “No, I didn’t vote for him first place. I would have real trouble because I don’t think he’s right as a prime minister, full stop. And I think what’s happening under him is wrong”.

She added: “Taxes are going up — everything’s going the wrong way. He’s not done anything we’ve got out of Europe, but we’re still allowing Europe to tell us what to do in so many ways. Sorry, that really rankles”

“No, I don’t think he’s a good prime minister”

A recent survey of 13,534 Conservative voters, commissioned by Lady McAlpine, found that Boris Johnson is the most popular candidate to succeed Rishi Sunak as leader — beating ten other senior party figures such as Suella BravermanLord Cameron and Kemi Badenoch.

The poll also found that Boris Johnson is the only Conservative who would outperform Sunak against Keir Starmer if the party changed leader, a new poll has suggested.

In total, 28 per cent of those surveyed said they would vote for Johnson against Starmer, compared to 25 per cent saying they would vote for Sunak over his rival.

On top of this, more than half of those who voted for the Conservatives in 2019 and have since decided to vote for a different party, but haven’t decided which, said they would back the party at the next election if Johnson were in charge.

52 per cent of those polled said they would vote for Johnson over the Labour leader, compared to just 39 per cent who said they would vote for Sunak over the Labour leader.

Whitestone Insight, who ran the poll, said that “replacing Rishi Sunak” could mean “the difference between wipeout, noble defeat, or possibly even somehow clinging on to power.”

Lady McAlpine, speaking after the poll’s publication, said that she believed that an election victory would be possible should Boris Johnson lead a “new squeaky clean Conservative Party”.

She told the Telegraph: “If we have the brains, they’re not evident and that’s because the personality is not there, the charisma is not there. To be a leader, you have to have enormous charisma to be a good leader.”

The polls came after the Conservative Party suffered two by-election defeats last week, losing Wellingborough and Kingwood to Labour both on substantial swings. 

Labour overturned majorities of 11,220 (Kingswood) and 18,540 (Wellingborough), in what amounted to the Conservative Party’s ninth and tenth by-election defeats of the current parliament.

Labour candidate Gen Kitchen secured Wellingborough with 45.8 per cent of the vote, while Damien Egan won Kingswood with 44.9 per cent of the vote.

The defeats have triggered calls from those within the party for the prime minister to “change course”. 

Calling on the government to declare its willingness to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, cut legal migration, reform welfare and cut taxes, the New Conservatives faction said: “In 2019 the British people voted for change, and they haven’t seen it yet. 

“We have many good excuses – the disruptions and distractions of Brexit, Covid and the Ukraine war – but so far, we have not delivered on the promises we made at the last election.

“There is still time – but our Party must change course. We are calling on the Government to adapt to the reality that the by-elections reveal. Our target voters want a different and a better offer.”

Speaking to Sky News yesterday after Lady McAlpine, Conservative MP Robin Walker said: “I disagree. I think [Rishi Sunak is] a good prime minister. He’s focused on the issues that we need to focus on as a country. 

“And I think actually he’s focused on issues like tackling immigration and reducing inflation these are absolutely the priorities that I’m hearing from people on the doorsteps.”