Dominic Cummings scandal: Boris Johnson’s popularity plummets

Boris Johnson’s popularity plummets in the wake of the Dominic Cummings lockdown row with his approval rating going from 19% to minus 1% – below zero for the first time since coronavirus pandemic began

  • Mr Johnson had a net approval rating of 19% on Friday before the row over his chief aide’s travel began
  • But a new poll by Savanta ComRes today has PM on -1% after he leapt to Mr Cummings’ defence twice
  • Ratings of other supportive ministers including Dominic Raab and Matt Hancock are also down sharply
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

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But a poll by Savanta ComRes today has Mr Johnson on -1% after he and senior ministers leapt to Mr Cummings’ (pictured today)  defence and refused to sack him.

Boris Johnson‘s approval rating has plummeted in the wake of the Dominic Cummings lockdown row, a new poll revealed today.

The Prime Minister had a net approval rating of 19 per cent on Friday before the news of his chief aide’s 260-mile journey to Durham.

But a poll by Savanta ComRes today has Mr Johnson on -1 per cent after he and senior ministers leapt to Mr Cummings’ defence and refused to sack him. 

The Prime Minister now has an approval rating of below that of opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, and the ratings of other senior ministers including Dominic Raab and Matt Hancock have similarly tumbled.

And the row appears to have taken its toll on the Government as a whole, with a Friday approval rating of 20 per cent falling to -2 per cent yesterday. 

The figures suggest that Government attempts to dismiss the furore as a Westminster Bubble obsession of no interest to the public may be wide of the mark.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman said: ‘This poll is more evidence that Boris Johnson is rapidly trashing public confidence in the Tory government by failing to remove his rule-breaking advisor Dominic Cummings from his post.

‘If the Prime Minister wants to throw his own reputation to the wind that is one thing – but he is now threatening public health by undermining trust and confidence in the rules.

‘There cannot be one rule for the Tory government and another for everyone else.’

The Prime Minister had a net approval rating of 19% on Friday before the news of his chief aide’s 260-mile journey to Durham. But a poll by Savanta ComRes today has Mr Johnson on -1% after he and senior ministers leapt to Mr Cummings’ defence and refused to sack him – below that of Keir Starmer

Mr Johnson in Downing Street today after returning from running in the grounds of Buckingham Palace

It came as a junior Government minister quit, delivering a massive blow to Boris Johnson and Downing Street. 

Douglas Ross, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and a Tory whip, announced this morning he is quitting the frontbench because he was unconvinced by Mr Cummings’ defence of the 260-mile journey in March. 

Mr Ross, the MP for Moray, said in his resignation letter: ‘I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government. 

‘I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.’ 

The MP, who backed the UK staying in the EU in 2016, added that ‘Mr Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked’. 

A Number 10 spokesman said Boris Johnson thanked Mr Ross for his ‘service to government and regrets his decision to stand down’.  

Labour said Mr Ross had ‘done the decent thing’ by quitting a ‘government that is out of control’ while the SNP claimed it was ‘staggering’ a minister had quit ‘before the unelected adviser’. 

The row appears to have taken its toll on the Government as a whole, with a Friday approval rating of 20% falling to -2% yesterday.

The resignation of Mr Ross, a qualified football referee who has previously run the line in Champions League games, comes at the worst possible time for Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings as the Government tries to move on from the damaging row. 

Number 10’s headache was only likely to increase as Tory MP Simon Jupp went public with his own criticism this morning as he said if he had been in the same situation as Mr Cummings he ‘wouldn’t have made the same decisions and would have since considered my position’. 

Michael Gove had earlier defended the PM’s top aide as a ‘man of honour and integrity’ and said that ‘people will make their own mind up’ about the trip to Durham. 

Mr Cummings yesterday refused to apologise for the journey and insisted he had no regrets. 

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