The exclusive Mirror survey reveals 75% believe Government officials did break the rules at the peak of the second wave, with 66% stating the incidents should be investigated by the police
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Boris Johnson’s efforts to tackle the new Coronavirus variant are at risk as a Mirror survey has found three in four Brits are less likely to follow fresh Covid restrictions following revelations of lockdown parties in Downing Street.
The UK recorded its highest number of Covid infections since January 9 today and UK scientists warned millions could catch the new strain before the New Year as it will become the dominant variant in the UK by mid-December.
The Survation poll for the Mirror reveals 77% of people are less likely to follow Covid rules if Government officials have broken them.
The survey of 1,178 Brits online found 75% believe Government officials did break the rules at the peak of the second wave, with 66% stating the incidents should be investigated by the police.
The poll comes after Professor Chris Whitty said he fears Brits will not accept new lockdown restrictions after enduring almost two years of the pandemic.
Speaking to a panel at the Local Government Association he added: “My greatest worry at the moment is that people… if we need to do something more muscular at some point, whether it’s for the current new variant or at some later stage, can we still take people with us?”
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey found 1 in 60 people had Covid in England, in the week ending December 1. This equates to around 891,500 people.
On Friday face masks were made mandatory in most indoor spaces; including cinemas, theatres, churches and galleries.
And from Monday those who can work from home are advised to do so, and on Wednesday the NHS Covid Pass (on the NHS app) will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and other large gatherings.
The PM’s spokesman slapped down rumours of a Covid ‘Plan C’ or a ‘Plan B plus’ being prepared for the New Year just in case the plan B measures did not curb the new variant.
Plan B measures are set to be introduced next week, with MPs set to vote on the measures in the Commons on Tuesday.
But at least 30 Tory MPs are set to rebel and vote against the introduction of tighter Covid restrictions, with many furious with Mr Johnson’s handling of Downing Street party revelations.
Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper said the PM’s authority has been diminished by the Owen Paterson sleaze row and the alleged Downing Street party.
He told the Commons on Wednesday: “Why should people listen to the Prime Minister’s instructions to follow the rules when people inside Number 10 Downing Street don’t do so?”
And renowned rebel Steve Baker told the Mirror he hoped Labour would vote against the measures.
But shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting slammed rumours of Labour voting against plan B restrictions in order to defeat the PM.
He told BBC ’s Radio 4 Today programme “public health has always come first for the Labour Party during the pandemic. Despite the trouble the Government finds themselves in, public health will still come before party politics”.
Sir Keir Starmer said the booster programme should have been “ramped up weeks ago”. “The Government pooh-poohed that it’s now doing it but again, as ever, too late,” he added.
The Survation study put Labour on a six-point lead over the Conservatives, which suggests voters have lost faith in Mr Johnson’s handling of the pandemic following the party scandal.
Since the Mirror first revealed parties were held at the Prime Minister’s Number 10 flat in the run up to Christmas last year, the PM is now facing accusations of seven separate parties and drinks do’s held across Westminster in November and December last year.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is currently investigating three dates on which bashes were said to have been held in breach of lockdown rules.
They are, a No10 leaving do on November 27 at which the PM spoke; a No10 Christmas party on December 18 and a Department for Education bash on December 10.
Downing Street has cancelled its Christmas party this year blaming the increase in workload for the cancelled plans.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I think we’ve made it clear since the latest situation with Omicron, obviously that’s taking up a great deal of time at the moment.” He added: “There’s no plans for [a party] in Number 10.”
On November 13, sources told the Mirror people gathered for drinks in Boris and Carrie Johnson’s flat above 11 Downing Street. And on the same day, farewell drinks were held in number 10s “round table room” – the night Dominic Cummings quit. Two weeks later on November 27, sources claim 40 to 50 people crammed into a room at Number 10 to say goodbye to top aide Cleo Watson, an ally of Cummings.
Former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has admitted to holding a canapes reception for his top team on December 10.
Four days later people working on the London mayoral campaign for candidate Shaun Bailey held their own ‘raucous’ party. And on December 18 the Mirror broke the story about the Number 10 Christmas Party.
ITV News reported on Thursday that Jack Doyle, who was then deputy director of communications at No 10, addressed up to 50 people at a Christmas gathering said to have been held on December 18.
He offered to resign but the PM turned it down.
A Number 10 spokesperson said Ed Oldfield is still in his position and the PM is still confident with his position, despite accepting Allegra Stratton’s resignation.