Support for Boris Johnson has plunged to its lowest level since the end of January, a new YouGov poll has revealed.
The Prime Minister’s popularity has taken a hit following criticism over a U-turn he made on COVID self-isolation and the growing unrest regarding workers being told to quarantine by the NHS COVID-19 app.
The latest YouGov/Times voting intention poll from 21 July showed the Conservative Party had 38% of the vote, which was 6% down on the previous survey on 16 July.
Labour’s position has improved by 3 points, and it now has a 34% share of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats are on 9% (+1), the Greens 8% (+2) and Reform UK have 3% of the vote.
Last week, the government performed a U-turn just three hours after announcing Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak would not have to self-isolate – despite both having come into contact with health secretary Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Sunday's rapid turnaround came after anger erupted when the government announced both Johnson and Sunak would be taking part in the daily contact testing pilot that would allow them to continue working without quarantining.
The criticism came as thousands of people were being forced to miss work after being 'pinged'.
Discontent with the government’s self-isolation policy has continued to grow as food industry bosses condemned changes to ease the “pingdemic” as “worse than useless”, hospitality leaders warned of a summer of closures and train operators were forced to cut services.
There were increasing calls for the PM to bring forward his wider relaxation of quarantine rules for the fully vaccinated from 16 August as businesses were hampered by staff being told to isolate as coronavirus cases soar.
To calm industry concerns, ministers published a limited list of critical sectors whose double-jabbed workers are eligible to avoid isolation if they undergo daily testing before the broader easing of rules for England.
Industry leaders said the move did not include sufficient workers, but doctors warned the problem is the Prime Minister has let the virus “rip” and not the “pings” being issued by the NHS COVID-19 app to tell coronavirus contacts to isolate.
British Frozen Food Federation chief executive Richard Harrow said: “Confusion continues to pervade and I have been advised no list until Monday. This is worse than useless.”
In the emergency measures to protect supplies, around 10,000 workers in the food sector were expected to be included in the scheme for fully vaccinated workers to be exempt from isolation if they test negative.
Others in key sectors of the economy and vital public services were also included.
The mounting criticism came as data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Covid-19 cases continued to rise, with around one in 75 people in England infected.
The estimate of the number testing positive – 741,700 – in the week to July 17 is the highest since the week to January 30.
British Medical Association (BMA) chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said isolation numbers are the “direct result of lack of effective measures by Government that is allowing the virus to let rip throughout the nation”.
Watch: How the world could be better after COVID