Rishi Sunak’s popularity among Tory members has surged in the wake of his watering down of Net Zero targets, a survey has found. The Telegraph has the story.
The Prime Minister’s satisfaction rating among the Conservative grassroots has risen out of negative territory to become the eighth-most popular member of Cabinet.
He had placed seventh from bottom last month, having sunk to his lowest approval rating among the membership since taking office.
Mr Sunak was polling at –3.8 ahead of Parliament returning from summer recess, but now sits at +25.8 points.
His popularity bounce comes after he announced a delay to a raft of Net Zero targets, including pushing back the ban on new petrol car sales to 2035.
He still remains behind Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, the Commons leader, and James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary. They have all remained in the top five Cabinet members for the party’s grassroots.
Kemi Badenoch, the Trade Secretary, came top of the ConservativeHome website’s Cabinet League Table for the second time in a month, leading with a net satisfaction score of +59 percentage points.
The Prime Minister’s popularity had previously rebounded following the Conservative victory in Uxbridge in July, a by-election widely seen as a referendum on the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) to outer London.
Mr. Sunak also watered down the ban on new oil boiler sales from 2026 to 2035 during his Net Zero speech last Wednesday, in which he promised a “brave new approach to politics”.
He also increased heat pump grants and promised not to introduce taxes to discourage meat eating or flying.
The latest Cabinet rankings come ahead of the Conservative Party Conference taking place this weekend, the first that Mr. Sunak will attend as Prime Minister.
He is expected to use the conference to announce a new “plan for motorists”, in which he will block councils from introducing new 20mph zones and scale back low-traffic neighbourhoods.
With the Tories also recovering a little in the polls, will Sunak now learn the right lessons and look at how much further he can go in rolling back the alarmist climate measures? Or is it really just a little morsel of red meat ahead of an election year?
In truth, though, with Net Zero by 2050 still locked in by legislation and a Labour party stuffed with climate fanatics like Ed Miliband looking likely to come to power next year, it all feels like too little too late.
Worth reading in full.