Thursday 27 August 2020 11:38 am

Unrest grows among Tory MPs over series of Boris Johnson U-turns

Senior members of Boris Johnson’s government are reportedly disgruntled about the growing number of policy U-turns coming from Downing Street.

Yesterday’s U-turn on face masks in schools marked the 12th policy about face the government has made since the start of the coronavirus crisis in March.

Twelve senior Conservatives told the Financial Times about growing unhappiness about the way the government functions and its relationship with the civil service.

Yesterday, the Department of Education’s top civil servant Jonathan Slater was ousted, after the A-level results fiasco and face masks in schools U-turn.

One senior cabinet minister told the FT: “What I find odd is that we’re becoming more precautionary with our U-turn activities: it’s layer upon layer of precaution that doesn’t match where the science is going.

“Instead, it seems the PM is making a political choice to help people get back to school.”

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Another Tory backbencher questioned the role of Cummings’ chief adviser Dominic Cummings in decision making.

Cummings, who was the mastermind of the Vote Leave campaign, is seen by many as pulling the strings in Downing Street.

The backbencher said: “Is it that Dominic Cummings is too busy building death star stations or whatever he wants to do?”

The discontented rumblings across the party have been growing louder as the coronavirus crisis has dragged on.

The government was criticised for its decision making in handling the health emergency and for many of the decisions it has made during the post-lockdown and recovery stage.

It has seen Boris Johnson fall behind Sir Keir Starmer as preferred PM in YouGov polling, however the Tories still lead Labour in party polling.

A government spokesperson said: “Throughout this pandemic we have followed the latest scientific evidence at every stage. As with any brand new and rapidly developing disease, we have to be flexible and adapt to respond to new evidence in order to fight this disease.”