September 9, 2019 / 11:35 AM / 10 days ago

PM Johnson would do worse than predecessor in an election now - ex-government adviser

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would win fewer seats than his predecessor Theresa May if an election was held now, based on private polling for his office, a former government adviser said on Monday.

May won 318 out of parliament’s 650 seats in 2017, forcing her to rely on a small Northern Irish party to govern. Johnson lost that majority last week after Conservative Party defections and the decision to kick out 21 of his lawmakers who rebelled over Brexit.

“We are looking at picking up roughly 295-300 seats,” Jason Stein, who was an adviser to former works and pensions minister Amber Rudd who quit the government on Saturday, told Sky News, citing private polling for Johnson’s 10 Downing Street office.

“Number 10 themselves privately will tell you that it will be a tough election. They are not expecting this to be the land of milk and honey.”

He said the Conservatives were going to lose seats in Scotland, London and southwest England.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by William Schomberg

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