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Boris Johnson’s special adviser is under pressure after details of his 260-mile trip to Durham emerged last week, at a time when Britons were being told to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. The survey, published by YouGov today, suggested 71 percent of interviewees believed Mr Cummings had broken the rules, up three points compared with a similar poll released on Saturday. Additionally, 59 percent of people now believe Mr Cummings should resign, up seven percent on the 52 percent who felt he should quit before he spoke in the rose garden of Number 10 yesterday.
In addition to 88 percent of Labour voters and 86 percent of Lib Dems, the majority of Tories – 56 percent – now believe Mr Cummings should leave his post.
Remain voters emphatically agree, with 81 percent saying he should go – but a solid majority of Leave votes – 63 percent – agree.
The second survey involved 1160 UK adults interviewed on May 25 and 26, all of them once Mr Cummings had stopped speaking.
Chris Curtis, Political Research Manager at YouGov, said: “If Downing Street was hoping Cummings’ statement would turn public opinion then it’s fair to say it’s not worked.
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Only time will tell though if this row starts to hurt the government electorally but if it does the pressure is only going to mount from Tory MPs for Cummings to go
“Over the weekend the public told us they thought that Cummings was both in breach of lockdown rules and should resign and despite a lengthy press conference and a detailed statement the public haven’t changed their mind.
“Only time will tell though if this row starts to hurt the government electorally but if it does the pressure is only going to mount from Tory MPs for Cummings to go.”
The fallout from Mr Cummings’ lockdown trip continues to overshadow the Government’s agenda.
Junior Scottish minister Douglas Ross today resigned from the Government, saying: “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.”
Meanwhile, Conservative MP Mark Harper said Dominic Cummings “should have offered to resign, and the Prime Minister should have accepted his resignation”.
He added: “As for Mr Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle on 12 April, an apology should have been made and a level of regret expressed.
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“I was disappointed that Mr Cummings did neither.”
Speaking to Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio 2, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said his own postbag showed “many people still disagree” with the actions of Dominic Cummings.
He said: “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 further ministers would resign or whether Mr Cummings would survive in post, Mr Jenrick replied: “I don’t know.”
Downing Street has also been unable to explain why it said in a statement on Saturday that Dominic Cummings’ wife had been infected with suspected coronavirus, which the aide later contradicted.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “He set out his account of what had happened yesterday.
“I think it was a very full and detailed account and there’s nothing for me to add to it.”
The spokesman also defended having previously told journalists Dominic Cummings was isolating at home during the lockdown, saying he had not known of his actual location at the time but had been pointing out he was not working at Number 10.
Asked if he meant Mr Cummings was in London, the spokesman said: “No, and the context of my answer was pointing out he wasn’t at work.”
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