In Brief

Tory polling stabilises as Labour whip resigns over lockdown breach

Conservatives have ten-point lead over opposition party but support for Boris Johnson is falling

Latest polls suggest that public outrage over Dominic Cummings’ lockdown breach is receding, with the Conservatives’   lead over Labour widening to ten points in the past week.

The Tories’ image has “nosedived” since early April, with voters increasingly viewing the ruling party as “out of touch and incompetent”, says The Times

But while the government has faced widespread criticism over its handling of the coronavirus crisis, support for the Conservatives has risen to 45%, up one point from the beginning of last week, according to a YouGov poll for the newspaper. 

Labour is on 35%, down three points since the start of last week. However, the ten-point lead held by the Tories is well below the 15-point gap that the party enjoyed before the Cummings scandal

And when asked by YouGov who would make the best prime minister, 37% of respondents said Boris Johnson, while 32% said Keir Starmer. The five-point gap in the latest poll, conducted last Friday and Saturday, marks a significant narrowing compared with a survey 11 days earlier, in which Johnson commanded a 12-point lead over the Labour leader.

The result is likely to “fuel consternation in Conservative circles, where Labour is viewed as an increasingly serious threat” under Starmer’s leadership, says The Times.

Labour’s drop in the polls comes after party whip Rosie Duffield resigned from her front-bench post. 

Duffield quit after The Mail on Sunday revealed that she had broken lockdown regulations in April by meeting with her married boyfriend, TV director James Routh, while he was still living with his wife. The newspaper said the couple had also spend time together at Duffield’s home, which they are now sharing.

In a statement, Duffield said: “My partner and I have been attempting to navigate a difficult personal situation as responsibly as possible. I apologise that during that process, we breached the guidelines.” 

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