Johnson Surges, Osborne Drops in Poll on Next U.K. Tory Leader

George Osborne and Boris Johnson.

Photographer: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Backing for London Mayor Boris Johnson to become the next leader of the U.K.’s governing Conservative Party surged among Tory activists in a regular poll for the Conservative Home website, while support for Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne fell.

Johnson polled 32 percent in March, up from 19 percent a month ago, Conservative Home said on Tuesday. The leap came after Johnson declared in favor of Britain leaving the European Union in the referendum scheduled for June 23. Another prominent supporter of a so-called Brexit, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, climbed to 20 percent from 8 percent.

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, on March 8.

Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Support fell for all three main pro-EU candidates to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron, who has pledged to step down before the 2020 election. Osborne dropped to 11 percent from 15 percent, while Home Secretary Theresa May fell to 10 percent from 21 percent and Business Secretary Sajid Javid slid to 5 percent from 14 percent. Osborne was the most popular candidate to take over from Cameron from September to December last year.

Conservative Home’s monthly survey drew almost 2,400 responses, the website said. It didn’t provide details of a margin of error.

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