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Johnson would do worse than predecessor in an election now

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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.

[LONDON] 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.

Mrs 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."

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

Meanwhile the month-long suspension of the British parliament ordered by Mr Johnson in an apparent bid to stop MPs blocking his Brexit strategy will begin late Monday, his spokesman said.

"Parliament will be prorogued at close of business today," the spokesman said, using the parliamentary term for the suspension.

He added it would take place regardless of the outcome of a government-led vote on holding a snap election next month.

Mr Johnson last month asked Queen Elizabeth II to close the Houses of Parliament until October 14, claiming it was needed to allow him to introduce a new domestic agenda.

But the suspension's timing and longer than unusual duration sparked uproar across the political spectrum, with critics calling it a "constitutional outrage" and a coup.

Lawmakers opposed to a no-deal Brexit said it was clearly aimed at hobbling their efforts to prevent such a scenario, while it also prompted several so far unsuccessful court challenges.

However, the move appeared to backfire on Johnson by galvanising opposition MPs and Conservative rebels into passing legislation forcing him to seek a Brexit delay next month if he has not reached a deal with the EU.

That law received royal assent on Monday.

REUTERS,AFP