Conservatives up in polls despite pandemic and exams 'chaos', study reveals

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves as he walks to his car following a visit to Hereford County Hospital, in Hereford, England, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. Hereford County Hospital is expanding with a three storey modular building providing 72 new beds over three wards under construction. The new facility will open early 2021. (Matthew Horwood/Pool Photo via AP)
Boris Johnson's Tory government has gained support in the polls. (AP)

The Conservatives are up in the polls despite being heavily criticised for their response to the coronavirus pandemic and the handling of the exam results.

Tories currently have 43% of the vote compared to Labour's 36%, according to the latest YouGov/Times voting intention figures.

The Conservative party has increased its support by 3% from last week, with Labour falling by 2%.

The Tories managed to gain votes despite the ongoing criticism over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw yet another u-turn on wearing face masks in schools on Tuesday.

Tories currently have 43% of the vote compared to Labour's 36% (Picture: YouGov)
Tories currently have 43% of the vote compared to Labour's 36%. (YouGov)

Ministers had ruled out the need for pupils to wear masks in corridors despite updated advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), but the government has now said face coverings should be worn in schools in places facing restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Headteachers in other areas will also have the discretion to recommend using masks in their schools for students aged between 11 and 18.

It follows a tough week for the Conservatives after they were criticised following the release of A-level results in England.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson faced calls to resign when the government was forced to u-turn away from awarding students grades based on an algorithm which appeared to boost private schools’ performance, and instead to award pupils their teacher assessed results.

Boris Johnson has expressed his regret over the exam results chaos and admitted in hindsight the government “might have done some things differently”.

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Newly-elected Labour Party leader Keir Starmer arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show Sunday, April 5, 2020. Lawyer and lawmaker Starmer was elected leader of Britain's main opposition Labour Party on Saturday, April 4, by a decisive margin, after a contest thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus outbreak.(Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Labour leader Keir Starmer is still seen as a better leader than Boris Johnson. (AP)

His comments come as the Commons education select committee announced representatives from England’s examinations regulator Ofqual – whose controversial algorithm led to many students having their results downgraded earlier this month – will appear in front of MPs on 2 September.

Williamson will appear before them on 16 September.

The government has made several u-turns during the pandemic, with the most notable being a reversal on providing food vouchers for poor families, abandoning a contact-tracing app and cancelling a visa surcharge for NHS workers.

The new YouGov poll also showed Labour leader Keir Starmer is still ahead of Johnson when it comes to who people think would make the “best prime minister”.

In total 33% of Brits think Starmer would make a better leader, compared to 30% for the current PM.

But a higher percentage of people (34%) "don't know" who they would vote for.