Dominic Cummings: What do Britons make of his accusations against the government?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
May 27, 2021, 3:50 PM UTC

The former special advisor has given explosive evidence to MPs over the governments handling of the pandemic

Following his resignation after a Number 10 power struggle, Dominic Cummings has given extensive criticism of his former employer to a parliamentary select committee about the government's handling of the pandemic.

The story has cut through to a sizeable proportion of the public, with some 10% of Britons following the ongoing story very closely. Another 31% are following “fairly” closely and 29% are following the news albeit “not very closely”.

Around one in six Labour voters (17%) are following the story “very” closely, nearly twice the number of Conservatives (9%) doing so.

The revelations about how the government initially approached the pandemic have created a media storm – nothing new to Cummings – with fewer than one in ten Britons unaware of the story (8%). Those aged 18-24 are least likely to be aware of the Cummings testimony (21%), compared to 11% of 25-49 year olds and just 2% of 50-64 year olds.

Do Brits think Dominic Cummings is painting a true picture of behind the scenes in Number 10?

Cummings told a committee of MPs on Wednesday that government mistakes during the pandemic led to the deaths of "tens of thousands of people” - but do people think this and the other evidence given by Cummings is accurate?

Britons are split, some 32% think Cummings’ criticisms are mostly accurate, while 26% say they are mostly inaccurate – however many Britons don’t know which way to think (42%). This is possibly unsurprising, given a previous YouGov poll found 46% of the public were inclined to believe neither Dominic Cummings nor Boris Johnson over leaks about the government’s pandemic handling back in April.

Along political lines, however, some 58% of Labour voters believe Cummings is painting a broadly accurate picture of the government’s COVID-19 strategy, but only 15% of Conservative voters say the same.

Should Matt Hancock stay or should he go?

Some of the most serious allegations and comments from Cummings evidence are levied at the Health secretary Matt Hancock. Cummings has said Hancock assured him and the Prime Minister that people returning to care homes from hospitals would be tested for COVID-19 – testing which never happened. Now Britons are split over the future of the health secretary.

A third (36%) think he should fall on his sword and resign, while similar proportions of the population think he should stay on (31%) or are unsure (33%). 

Almost two thirds of Labour voters (64%) think Hancock should resign, with only 9% thinking he should stay in post. These figures are reversed for Conservative voters, with 60% saying Hancock should remain in place, and just 15% wanting to see the back of him.

See full results here