Seven in 10 think Dominic Cummings broke lockdown as Boris Johnson’s ratings nosedive after backing him
There are growing calls from Tory MPs for Dominic Cummings to resign (PA)
More than seven in 10 people think Dominic Cummings broke the coronavirus lockdown as a survey shows Boris Johnson’s approval rating has nosedived after backing his top aide.
A poll by YouGov reveals that more than half the public believe the Prime Minister’s chief aide should resign after driving 270 miles to Durham in the middle of the pandemic.
The 71% who think that constituted a breach of the guidelines is up from 68% who said then same when asked on Saturday, before his public statement, suggesting the attempt at transparency has failed to win people over.
Split by political affiliation, the results show a majority of Tories and Leave voters think he broke the rules, despite Mr Johnson and a host of Cabinet figures claiming he acted within the law.
And according to pollsters Savanta Comres' daily tracker, the PM’s own ratings have suffered, falling from +19% to -1% following the controversy around his senior advisor.
Approval for the Government has also fallen below zero, dropping 16 points from +14% to -2%.
Publicly throwing their weight behind Mr Cummings also appears to have damaged the publics' perception of Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
But on Tuesday Downing Street reiterated its support for Mr Cummings, despite a growing roll call of MPs asking for his removal.
Mr Johnson's official spokesman told reporters: "From the Prime Minister's point of view, he has set out that he believes Dominic Cummings acted reasonably, legally and with integrity and with care for his family and for others.”
JENRICK: MANY STILL DISAGREE ON CUMMINGS
The spokesperson also defended having previously told journalists Mr Cummings was isolating at home when it was revealed that he was suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.
The spokesman was asked if he meant the aide was in London, replying: "No, and the context of my answer was pointing out he wasn't at work.”
And he rejected the suggestion chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance did not take part in Monday’s Downing Street press conference because they did not support Mr Cummings.
The pair had been seen going into Number 10 ahead of the televised briefing but then did not appear alongside Mr Johnson.
The PM’s spokesman said: "I think the view of the Prime Minister was that the questions yesterday were likely to be focused on the statement earlier in the day and would all be directed at him, and therefore that Patrick and Chris didn't need to take part.
“I think you can expect to see them at press conferences in the coming days. They were in No 10 yesterday in order to give an update to the PM, which they do regularly."
Meanwhile House Secretary Robert Jenrick said his own postbag showed “many people still disagree” with Mr Cummings’ actions.
He also told BBC Radio 2’s Vanessa Feltz: “I think people can understand the interests he had at heart, which were to protect his sick wife and his young child – and can at least understand now why he made those decisions.”
Pressed on whether after Douglas Ross’ resignation further ministers would stand down over the row or if Mr Cummings would stay in his post, Mr Jenrick replied: “I don’t know.”