Cameron’s poll rating hammered after phone-hacking revelations

By Ian Dunt

Nearly half of all voters question the prime minister's judgement following the phone-hacking scandal, a new survey reveals.

The poll comes amid new questions for David Cameron, after reports show the extent of the Cabinet ministers' meetings with News International figures.

Government information released yesterday showed chancellor George Osborne had met News International representatives 16 times since the general election. Eyebrows were also raised at education secretary Michael Gove, who had 21 meetings.

“It reveals a lot about Michael Gove’s priorities that he has found time to meet with News Corps executives 21 times since he became education secretary – including meeting Rupert Murdoch on seven separate occasions – but in his first seven months in the job he didn’t manage to visit a single sixth form college, further education college or special school," said shadow education secretary Andy Burnham.

As the documents were released Downing Street again found itself defending Ed Llewellyn, Mr Cameron's chief of staff, after it emerged that he had dinner with Neil Wallis and then Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson. Mr Wallis' network of contacts in the media, Scotland Yard and Downing Street has proved problematic for several senior figures over the last few weeks.

A ComRes poll for the Independent found that all party leaders had been hit by the phone-hacking scandal – even Ed Miliband, who was widely considered to have dealt with it well – but that Mr Cameron was considerably the most damaged.

Asked whether 'David Cameron's actions over the phone hacking scandal make me question whether he has the right judgment and skills to be prime minister', 47% agreed and 44% did not.

In a finding which will cause consternation in Downing Street, 31% of people who voted for Mr Cameron also agreed with the statement.