Boris Johnson’s poll lead cut by nine points amid Dominic Cummings row
The Conservatives’ poll lead over Labour has suffered a sharp week-on-week fall amid a bitter row over Dominic Cummings’ lockdown journey from Durham to London.
A YouGov survey for The Times shows that support for the Tories is down by four points to 44 per cent, while Labour climbed five points to reach 38 per cent.
The last Conservative leader to see their poll advantage fall so dramatically was David Cameron, who ceded ground to the Liberal Democrats in the run-up to the 2010 election.
The findings capped a grim 24 hours for the government, which saw the resignation of Scotland Office minister Douglas Ross over the row, as well as a demand for Cummings to “consider his position” from the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
Boris Johnson - who will face a grilling from senior MPs on the Liaison Committee on Wednesday afternoon - has stood by his embattled adviser over the decision to make the lengthy journey from London to Durham during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Cummings has said he acted “legally and reasonably” when he and his wife made the journey to stay in their family’s second home, amid fears they could be left without childcare for their four-year old son.
But dozens of Conservative MPs have broken ranks to criticise Cummings, with many calling for his resignation.
Speaking at the Number 10 press conference on Tuesday night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “My view is that what he did was within the guidelines. I can understand why reasonable people can take a different view.
“But my judgement, which is the same as the Prime Minister's judgement, is that what Cummings did was within the guidelines.
“After all, the guidelines allow for exceptional circumstances, particularly with regard to childcare. And we’ve stated before that if you’re unable to look after a small child that is an exceptional circumstance.”
YouGov findings released on Tuesday show that more than seven in ten (71 per cent) people think Cummings broke the coronavirus lockdown, with a majority of Tories and Leave voters believing he broke the rules.
According to pollsters Savanta Comres' daily tracker, the PM’s own ratings have also suffered, falling from +19 per cent to -1 per cent following the controversy around his senior aide.