THE war within the Tory Party may see the Conservatives “implode” at the upcoming local elections, Professor John Curtice has said.

The polling expert said support for the Tories in Scotland had been at its lowest level “for seven or eight years” over the festive period, and that the direction of travel was not currently pointing to a recovery.

However, speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Curtice also said that Tory MPs have not yet removed Boris Johnson as the Labour Party are failing to convince the public that life would be any better with them in charge.

He said that while polling showed Labour leader Keir Starmer (below) “is now somewhat more popular than the Prime Minister, that’s not very difficult because the Prime Minister’s popularity has plummeted”.

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Curtice said that Labour’s support across the UK had remained at quite a stable 38-39% for some time, and it was only the Tories’ fall which had given them the lead.

He told the BBC: “We’re not looking at a situation where the government is in trouble because the public has discovered an enthusiasm for the opposition.

“The truth is that Sir Keir Starmer at the moment still seems to be somebody who doesn’t frighten people, but he doesn’t enthuse them either. His ratings are around the zero mark in terms of satisfaction.

“But we’re not looking at a situation where there’s clearly people saying it would clearly be better under the opposition, and that perhaps might be the reason Conservative MPs might be hoping that, whether Boris Johnson stays or not, that this is still a recoverable position.”

A YouGov poll published on Thursday, and run before the Prime Minister’s shambolic defence of his own attendance at a BYOB drinks event at No 10, put Conservative support on just 28%. This is five points lower than it had been last week, and ten points behind Labour.

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A separate poll, released on Boxing day, put Tory support north of the Border on just 17%, Curtice said.

He went on: “In the local elections that are coming up in Scotland in May, the Conservatives are defending a very good set of results [won] back in May 2017. It was just before the very good result for the party, relatively speaking, in the 2017 General Election.

“The party knows that it’s on a sticky wicket. It certainly doesn’t want to be fighting those elections against a backdrop of a party that has lost its popularity, but that at the moment at least is the prospect which potentially faces it, which perhaps helps to explain why Tory MSPs at least have been the first out of the hatch to say that the Prime Minister should go.”

Asked about comments made by Jacob Rees-Mogg, in which he described Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross as a “lightweight”, Curtice said they would not help the party going forward.

“What is certainly true is that we can anticipate that, if Mr Johnson is still there and the Leader of the House of Commons is still there, those words are going to get repeated endlessly north of the Border.

“It certainly shows you the difficulties the Conservatives are now in. They are at risk of beginning to implode themselves as a result of the internal fighting within the party.”

Curtice further said the UK Government should be concerned about a “distinct proportion of Conservative voters”, about two-fifths, who think Johnson should resign his position.

“One of the calculations that Conservative MPs are going to have to make in deciding whether or not to move against the Prime Minister is whether or not they think that if he were to continue as leader of the Conservative party for any length of time that this would be too damaging to the party’s reputation,” Curtice said.