Boris Johnson’s poll lead plummets by seven points in the wake of Dominic Cummings’ Covid onslaught – as Starmer warns Tory civil war puts June 21 ‘freedom day’ at risk
- Boris Johnson’s poll lead has slumped amid bitter row with Dominic Cummings
- Tories are now just six points ahead of Labour against 13 points a fortnight ago
- Keir Starmer warning that the Tory civil war is putting June 21 unlocking at risk
Boris Johnson’s poll lead has plummeted in the wake of the onslaught from Dominic Cummings – as Keir Starmer warned the Tory civil war is putting June 21 ‘freedom day’ at risk.
The Conservatives’ advantage has more than halved in a fortnight as the bitter row between the PM and his former chief adviser escalated.
Research by Opinium puts the party’s support on 42 per cent, down two points, with Labour up five points on 36 per cent.
Mr Johnson’s net personal approval rating has also slumped from plus six to minus six.
The stark findings emerged as Sir Keir stepped up his attack on the government, accusing ministers of being too busy ‘covering their own backs’ to combat the Indian coronavirus variant.
Following Mr Cummings’ explosive evidence to MPs about ‘failures’ in the pandemic response, Sir Keir said ‘mistakes are being repeated’ as the Government considers whether the roadmap can go ahead as scheduled.
An Opinium poll found the Conservatives’ advantage has more than halved in a fortnight as the bitter row between the PM and his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings escalated
Mr Johnson’s (pictured on Friday) net personal approval rating has also slumped from plus six to minus six
‘Weak, slow decisions on border policy let the Indian variant take hold,’ he said.
‘Lack of self-isolation support and confused local guidance failed to contain it.
‘We all want to unlock on June 21 but the single biggest threat to that is the Government’s incompetence.’
Writing in the Observer, Sir Keir said Mr Johnson’s reluctance to impose a second lockdown in autumn last year meant ‘avoidable and unforgivable’ deaths in the second wave of the virus.
‘The first wave we faced an unprecedented crisis. Decision making was undoubtedly difficult. Mistakes were inevitable. And the British public understand that.
‘But by the summer, we knew much more about the virus.
‘The Prime Minister was warned to prepare for a second wave. He did not do so. And over twice as many people died in the second wave than in the first.’
Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s former adviser, told MPs on Wednesday that ‘tens of thousands’ had died unnecessarily because of the Government’s handling of the pandemic and accused Health Secretary Matt Hancock of lying about testing for care home residents discharged from hospital – a claim he denied.
Sir Keir said the situation in care homes had been a ‘betrayal’, adding: ‘We may never know whether Boris Johnson said Covid ‘was only killing 80-year olds’ when he delayed a second lockdown.
‘What we do know is that the man charged with keeping them safe showed callous disregard for our elderly, as he overlooked the incompetence of his Health Secretary.’
Sir Keir net approval rating was minus nine in the Opinium poll, the same as a fortnight ago.
And despite only a fifth of those surveyed saying they trusted Mr Cummings to tell the truth, it seems many of the specific claims made during his seven-hour testimony to MPs were believed.
Some 66 per cent said they believed the Government pursued a herd immunity strategy at the start of the pandemic, with 20 per cent saying they did not.
The poll found 60 per cent thought it was plausible Mr Johnson thought coronavirus was a ‘scare story’ and called it ‘the new swine flu’.
Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s former adviser, told MPs on Wednesday that ‘tens of thousands’ had died unnecessarily because of the Government’s handling of the pandemic
Some 56 per cent were convinced Mr Johnson went on holiday in February 2020 without paying attention to the erupting crisis.
And a majority – 52 per cent to 34 per cent – thought Mr Johnson had been distracted by his personal life and was unable to concentrate on the decisions that needed to be taken.
Some 49 per cent gave credence to the disputed allegations that Matt Hancock lied about whether people would be tested before being discharged from hospital to care homes, with 28 per cent saying that was false.
In a worrying sign for the health secretary, 44 per cent suggested he should resign as health secretary, compared to 30 per cent who wanted him to stay.
Adam Drummond, Opinium’s head of political polling, said: ‘Whilst Dominic Cummings is seen as one of the least trustworthy men in Britain, the public do see some truth in the allegations he made against Boris Johnson’s government, puncturing the Conservatives’ post-Hartlepool bounce and reversing a recent spike in the prime minister’s approval rating.
‘However, there are strong reasons to believe that this won’t last though as the underlying approval figures for the vaccine rollout, which has driven voting intention since the beginning of 2021, are unchanged and remain very strong.’
:: Opinium Research surveyed 2,004 UK adults online from May 27-28. Results have been weighted to representative the wider population.
Matt Hancock (pictured) was also targeted as Mr Cummings rained fire on the government during his committee appearance last week
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