Rishi Sunak is more unpopular than ever after anti-trans comments at Tory conference

Prime minister Rishi Sunak

British prime minister Rishi Sunak is less popular than ever, following anti-trans comments made at the 2023 Tory conference, a poll has found.

A YouGov survey conducted for The Times newspaper has revealed that only 20 per cent of voters believed Sunak would make the best prime minister – down five points in a week – marking his lowest approval rating since he entered Downing Street. 

The fall in his popularity follows him sharing anti-trans rhetoric while speaking at the Conservative Party Conference on 4 October in Manchester. 

“A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense,” he said to a round of applause from Tory MPs and Conservative Party members in the audience.

Sunak’s comments were condemned by MPs, charities, activists and the LGBTQ+ community, but a day later, the PM said he had no regrets, repeating his claim that misgendering trans people is “common sense”.

The Times’ poll saw Labour leader Kier Starmer’s rating fall by two points to 32 per cent, with 28 per cent of voting saying they felt he had a clear plan for the country – up six points on last week. 

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In contrast, only 19 per cent of voters agreed that Sunak has a clear plan, down two points on last week.

Voters seemed more confident that a Labour government would lead to significant change, with 47 per cent agreeing and 37 per cent saying it would not, while only 25 per cent of people said Sunak’s plans would represent a change. 

The poll also asked which party people trusted to handle the economy, with 31 per cent voting in favour of Labour, 25 per cent voting Conservative and 39 per cent saying they did not know. 

It also showed that Labour has increased its overall poll lead on the Tories by two points. 

At the Labour Party Conference, held in Liverpool, the Labour leadership promised to “deliver where the Conservatives have failed”. 

At the National Women’s Conference on 7 October, shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds promised a “no loopholes” trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy if Labour win the next general election.

The vow comes amid fears that Sunak will shelve the long-awaited conversion therapy ban entirely due to claims similar laws have “proven problematic or ineffective in other countries”.