Almost half of adults believe British prime minister Theresa May should remain in place at least until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, a fresh poll suggests.
A survey for the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express found 47 per cent of people want Mrs May to carry on until Brexit is due to happen in March – including 75 per cent of Conservative voters.
A third (33 per cent) of those polled by ComRes believe she should quit before Brexit.
However, there was a more even split when respondents were asked if she should carry on “for the foreseeable future”, with 38 per cent saying she should and 41 per cent saying she should not.
Meanwhile an Opinium poll indicated Mrs May's divided party has slipped five points from 41 per cent to 36 per cent, with Labour overtaking them from 37 per cent to 39 per cent compared to October. In what may be an additional shock, the same poll showed the Tories lose 10 points among Leave voters after a deal with Brussels was agreed.
Moreover, in the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express survey there was bad news for some of her possible challengers, however, with just 8 per cent of voters wanting environment secretary Michael Gove to take over if Mrs May steps down.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt fared little better on 10 per cent, with high-profile Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg on 17 per cent.
Boris Johnson was backed by 21 per cent of those polled. But he was also the most actively opposed, with 61 per cent against his appointment. Just 19 per cent were "don't knows", the lowest of all four.
The survey of 2,000 adults carried out on Wednesday and Thursday at the height of a chaotic week in politics had Conservatives down three points to 36 per cent, while Labour remained on 40 per cent, compared to a Sunday Express poll in September.
But there was less good news for Labour, with the survey finding only 25 per cent of people want the prime minister to call an immediate general election.
It also found a second referendum would be a close call, with Remain beating Leave by 45 per cent to 43 per cent, with 10 per cent of people saying they had “had enough of Brexit and wouldn’t vote”.
This was despite 53 per cent of those polled saying there should not be a second referendum.