KEIR Starmer has surged ahead of Boris Johnson to become the more popular UK leader for the first time while he has led the Labour party, according to a new poll.

Ipsos MORI's latest political monitor shows Starmer with a 13-point lead over his Tory counterpart, the first time a Labour leader has come out on top with the pollster since 2008.

The public was asked which leader would make the "most capable prime minister" between December 3-10 - before, during and after news broke about Christmas parties in Downing Street.

The survey showed that 44% of respondents would choose Starmer while just 31% preferred Johnson.

The results from the September poll asking the same question had both leaders on 38%, while the March one had Johnson with a 10-point lead.

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The most recent result is the worst of Johnson's leadership and the first time Labour has come out on top since Gordon Brown led David Cameron in January 2008.

Satisfaction with Boris Johnson’s performance as Prime Minister has fallen to the lowest level since he took office, with 28% satisfied (-6 points from November) and 65% dissatisfied (+4). His net score has fallen 10 points to -47.

Starmer's satisfaction score remains largely unchanged on -21 with 28% satisfied and 49% dissatisfied.

At this point in his leadership, Starmer's predecessor Jeremy Corbyn registered a net score of -21 and by the 2019 General Election it hit -49.

While Johnson still retains support amongst Tory voters, discontent is brewing with 67% satisfied (-11 since August) and 28% dissatisfied (+13).

Starmer also leads Johnson in eight out of 11 leadership attributes questions, a switch from the last time these questions were asked in June when Starmer only led on three.

Starmer leads on being the most capable leader, good in a crisis, sound judgement, understands the problems facing Britain, giving voters confidence about Britain's future, being the least out of touch, being more honest than most politicians, being less style than substance and being a good representative for Britain on the world stage.

Johnson leads on having a lot of personality, being patriotic and being good in a crisis.

With most polls in recent days putting Labour firmly ahead in voting intentions, it's then not surprising to see that this poll returned a five-point lead for Starmer's party over the Tories (39% vs 34%).

Over the past few weeks, Johnson's leadership has been rocked by accusations of misleading Parliament and breaking the rules his own government set with multiple revelations of parties held in Downing Street last year while the official advice was not to have one, backed up by fines if they did take place.

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Gideon Skinner, head of politics at Ipsos MORI, says of the findings: "Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are feeling the chill.

"Of course it is still only mid-term and things can change, but people told us they cared about the Downing Street Christmas party, and the last few weeks have all added up to the Prime Minister’s personal brand taking a hit.

"While the Conservatives’ ratings had been on a downward trend even before this, what stands out in this poll are the drops in the Prime Minister’s personal ratings to his lowest as PM, while on detailed attributes like giving people confidence in Britain’s future his scores have halved.

"Keir Starmer, meanwhile, passes a landmark as the first Labour leader to lead on 'most capable Prime Minister' since Gordon Brown in 2008, helped by rises in key factors like understanding Britain’s problems and being a capable leader. However there is room for further improvement, and he still faces his own problems – notably uniting his own supporters behind him, where despite everything Boris Johnson still gets more backing from his own base."

The polling was carried out by telephone and asked 1005 British adults their opinions with results weighted to the population.