Even Leave Voters Feel ‘Betrayed’ By PM’s Refusal To Sack Brexit Architect Cummings

Conservative and pro-Brexit voters are turning against the prime minister after he refused to sack his chief adviser.

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Brexit supporters who Dominic Cummings helped lead to victory in the 2016 EU referendum are demanding the embattled aide resign or be sacked for breaking lockdown rules.

Cummings’s strategic advice was crucial to the Vote Leave campaign to which Boris Johnson pinned his ambitions four years ago. He was rewarded with an appointment as the prime minister’s chief adviser in 2019 when Johnson entered No.10.

But some of those who gave the campaign and the party their votes say Cummings’s journey to Durham in March during lockdown and Johnson’s subsequent refusal to sack him have left them furious.

It is a stark contrast with Tory ministers who have in some cases tied themselves in knots trying to justify Cummings’s behaviour and his retention as part of the government machine.

Despite being a “big supporter of Boris” and a Leave voter who would “still vote Brexit if we had a vote tomorrow”, Adrian, 44, from Cornwall, said the Cummings story had made him “really angry” and that it had affected how he might vote in the future.

“I’m really unhappy with the way the government has handled this crisis,” he said.

“[Cummings] has broken lockdown measures that most ordinary people have followed to the letter.

“Yesterday I wanted him to apologise and resign, and all I got was this media circus and him blaming the media and everyone else.”

He added: “He’s sticking two fingers up to us.”

Joe, 58, from Belfast, said he was “outraged” that the government was supporting Cummings’s “laughable story” and added it had “definitely reduced” his opinion of Johnson.

“I expected him to be sacked or forced to resign,” he said. “The loopholes Cummings claims don’t seem to be there for everyone else.”

Madeline Corr, 59, from Ascot, said Johnson and Cummings had “totally compromised the party” and that it was “political suicide”.

“We have all made sacrifices, especially people who have lost loved ones.”

A self-described “Conservative through and through”, she said she would not vote for the Tories again if Cummings remained in office.

Senior aide to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings has argued that his journey to Durham in March was justified in order to protect his family health.
Senior aide to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings has argued that his journey to Durham in March was justified in order to protect his family health.

Other Leave voters described themselves as feeling “betrayed” and “utterly disgusted”. “If something doesn’t change drastically, I will look at another party’s policies in the future,” one told HuffPost UK.

Long-time Conservative supporter Ian said Cummings had shown “complete arrogance” and had “undermined the government’s public health message to stop the virus from spreading.”

“This episode has created a one rule for us and one for the elite,” he said.

Another Leave and Tory voter said: “I put my faith and trust in the PM who had been largely AWOL through the pandemic but rushed to Cummings’ defence.

“It makes you wonder – who is actually in charge?”

The PM has faced fierce criticism for his handling of the saga, with some of his own MPs calling for Cummings to resign or be sacked, and scientific advisers warning that his actions had “fatally undermined” the aim of the lockdown.

On Tuesday a YouGov poll showed 59% of people believed Cummings should quit, while a change.org petition calling for Cummings to be sacked has received more than 700,000 signatures.

Douglas Ross, a junior minister in the Scotland Office, resigned on Tuesday, saying he could not “in good faith” defend Cummings’ actions.


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