Boris Johnson and the Tories slump to lowest lead over Labour so far

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

The Tories are continuing to face opposition in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic as the party slumps to its lowest lead over Labour under Boris Johnson recorded by one pollster.

Almost half of those surveyed this week by Opinium disapproved of the government's handling of the crisis – while 30% approved.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they thought it likely a second wave of Covid-19 infections would hit the UK, with marginally more – 32% to 30% – judging that a second spike would be larger than the first.

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The number of people who thought the lockdown had been eased too quickly rose by three points, up to 51%, in the past week.

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A slight decline in Tory popularity means they lead Labour by only three points, the poll suggested, with Johnson's party on 41% and Labour up to 38%.

The polling was conducted on Thursday and Friday as Johnson announced he needed to 'squeeze the brake pedal' on easing restrictions amid signs Covid-19's prevalence in the community was rising for the first time since May.

The planned relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors have been postponed, while further pilots for spectators at sports events were also cancelled.

But there was better news for th egovernment with the public backing the quick-fire decision to reimpose quarantine restrictions on Spain.

Close to two-thirds of people agreed with suspension of the travel corridor with Spain, which was announced less than five hours before it came into force on July 28.

The new rules, objected to by only 13% of the population according to Opinium's results, means that anyone arriving into the UK from Spain will now have to self-isolate for 14 days in response to the popular holiday destination's rising coronavirus infection rate.

It comes as 63% of people who had booked holidays confirmed they had seen their trip cancelled and another fifth said their plans had been postponed.

In what will be seen as a boost for the economy, the public look to becoming more confident about eating out and visiting pubs, with the number of those who have gone to restaurants or who plan to soon increasing to 33% – up from 27% a fortnight ago.

The news coincides with the chancellor Rishi Sunak's Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which will see the government pay half the bill, up to a maximum cost of £10, for meals eaten between Monday and Wednesday in August at participating restaurants.

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