UK Govt. slumps in polls amid coronavirus chaos | Daily News


 

UK Govt. slumps in polls amid coronavirus chaos

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Year 7 school children on their first day back at school in Coalville, East Midlands last Wednesday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Year 7 school children on their first day back at school in Coalville, East Midlands last Wednesday.

UK: Britain’s Conservative government was on Sunday level with the Labour party in the polls for the first time in over a year amid a series of embarrassing U-turns and economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson can expect little respite when parliament returns on Tuesday, with economic gloom and rows over school returns and efforts to get workers back to the office set to dominate the agenda.

The Tories and Labour are now both polling at 40 percent, according to an Opinium poll published in the Observer on Sunday, the first time they have been level since Johnson was elected leader last summer.

The Conservatives had a 26-point lead at the start of the coronavirus crisis, but criticism over the government’s handling of the outbreak, which has claimed over 41,000 lives in Britain, and the economic fallout from the resulting lockdown has seen their popularity plunge.

“This is the first time Labour have drawn level since July 2019 when both main parties were in freefall,” said Adam Drummond of Opinium.

“Since Boris Johnson became prime minister the Tories typically had a double digit lead, peaking in March/April this year when they were seen to be handling the pandemic and lockdown fairly well while Labour changed leader.” The latest polling drop comes after a damaging two weeks of U-turns over school exam results.

The government cancelled all exams for school leavers due to the virus, and instead asked Ofqual, the non-ministerial government department in charge of testing, to estimate results based on teacher assessments and other factors, including the historic performance of schools.

But it was forced to accept the teachers’ estimated grades after thousands of pupils had their results downgraded by Ofqual’s algorithm, which particularly hit children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It also backtracked on making pupils wear masks when they return to school next week.

Charles Walker, vice-chair of the influential 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers, told the Observer that MPs were becoming restless.

- AFP


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