Boris Johnson's popularity has fallen dramatically in the aftermath of a political scandal involving his chief aide Dominic Cummings, according to British political polls. The UK government's popularity has also fallen.
Cummings has been heavily criticized after British newspapers revealed that he travelled 260 miles across England with his family, to stay near his parents during the coronavirus lockdown.
He has refused to apologize or resign. Cummings said that his wife had fallen ill, that he was concerned that he too would become unwell, and that no one would be able to look after their young child.
Johnson has refused to sack his aide, but polls also show that a majority of the public believe Cummings should resign.
Two-thirds of British adults responding to a poll for the Daily Mail, published Wednesday, said Cummings should resign. Around the same number of adults believed the UK leader should fire his aide.
A poll by SavantaComRes, published Tuesday, also suggested Johnson’s personal popularity had fallen by 20 points in four days.
The opposition Labour Party appears to have benefited from the scandal. A poll for The Times out Wednesday showed the gap between Johnson’s Conservatives and Labour closing by nine points; while another by Survation showed it closing by five. Both polls still show the Conservatives as more popular than Labour.
Meanwhile, UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the government would not review fines imposed on people traveling during the lockdown for childcare purposes, during an interview with the BBC’s Breakfast show on Wednesday.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock had suggested that was a possibility on Tuesday, in response to a question from a member of the public.
"No there isn’t going to be a formal review," Jenrick said, adding that it was "for the police to decide whether to impose fines under the law."
"They have the guidance that we've provided, and the national police chiefs have provided their own guidance which does give officers a degree of discretion to use their common sense again reflecting the fact that all of our circumstances are different," he said.
"Dominic Cummings didn’t break the guidelines; the police, as far as I'm aware, haven't chosen to impose a fine on him."