Over a third of English adults (36%) say Matt Hancock should resign after a court ruled that he had “breached his legal obligation” by not publishing details of contracts the Department of Health had signed to source PPE last year, according to a new Savanta ComRes poll.
While a similar proportion say that he should not resign (37%), worryingly for Matt Hancock those saying that he should resign includes a quarter of 2019 Conservative voters (23%).
Matt Hancock has said that in delaying the contract award notices and sourcing PPE instead, the Department of Health ensured that Britain “never ran out of PPE,” although reports from hospitals and care homes at the time reported shortages.
The polling shows that half of English adults (49%) believe that the UK probably did run out of PPE last year, with a similar proportion of Conservative voters saying the same (46%). This figure rises to two thirds amongst Labour voters (64%), and over half of those aged 55+ (52%).
However, over a quarter of English adults say that we probably did not (28%) run out of PPE last year, rising to a third of Conservative voters (35%).
Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said, “While Matt Hancock has remained bullish on the issue, and even Keir Starmer has said this isn’t a resigning matter, the perception among a significant proportion of the public that Hancock and his Department did wrong is clear, even among 2019 Conservatives.”
“While this is likely to be reflection of Hancock not being overly popular, although our coronavirus tracker has shown an increase in his approval ratings recently, his categorical line that Britain did not run out of PPE is not an observation felt by the public, who tend to remember health professionals saying the opposite during the height of the pandemic last year.”