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Public compliance with Covid-19 rules and confidence in government drops during Cummings controversy

PUBLIC compliance with the coronavirus lockdown guidance and confidence in the government’s handling of the crisis have hit an all-time low,  a damning report revealed today.

Over the past two weeks, fewer people have followed the government’s rules to slow the spread of Covid-19, according to the University College London (UCL) social study of more than 90,000 adults.

The survey’s timescale includes when news broke that PM Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, had flouted lockdown guidance by driving 260 miles from London to Durham.

Complete adherence to the guidelines declined from an average of 70 per cent of people to just over 50 per cent.

Respondents were also asked, between May 18 to 25, how much confidence they had in the government’s handling of the spread of the coronavirus, using a low-to-high scale of one to seven.

Researchers recorded a further drop in confidence in the government over the bank holiday weekend, from about 4 to 3.5.

Confidence is falling most notably amongst those under 30, those in urban areas and those with a mental-health diagnosis.

Lower levels of confidence in the government are being recorded in England than in Scotland and Wales, which are only just beginning to loosen restrictions.

Despite accusations that Mr Cummings undermined the stay-at-home message during the pandemic, Mr Johnson has ignored calls from MPs — including scores of Tories — to sack him.

Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called on Attorney General Suella Braverman to apologise as a “bare minimum” today for defending Mr Cummings.

Ms Braverman had said of Mr Cummings’s journey — which he says was made to get childcare — that “protecting one’s family is what any good parent does” and endorsed a statement from No 10 which said that Mr Cummings had behaved both “responsibly and legally.”

Mr Thomas-Symonds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme today: “[Ms Braverman] shouldn’t have been commenting on an individual case in those circumstances. That is to misunderstand the role of the attorney general — to give unvarnished advice to government without fear or favour — and at the bare minimum she should apologise for that.”

On Thursday, a Durham police investigation concluded that Mr Cummings “might” have broken lockdown rules but this would only comprise a “minor breach.”

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