UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed his chief adviser Dominic Cummings amid a row over Mr Cummings completing a 260-mile journey during lockdown.
Speaking at Downing Street’s daily Coronavirus briefing on Sunday, Mr Johnson said Mr Cummings “followed the instincts of every father and every parent” and “I do not mark him down for that”. The PM said he has had “extensive face-to-face conversations” with Dominic Cummings and has concluded that he thinks Mr Cummings “acted legally, responsibly and with integrity”.
Reports had emerged regarding Mr Cummings making a trip from London to Durham in March, in a time when strict stay at home measures were in place. It was claimed by Downing Street that Mr Cummings wanted to ensure he had childcare in case he got COVID-19 symptoms. However, reports have since emerged indicating that Mr Cummings may have made a second trip during the lockdown.
Multiple Conservative MPs had called for Mr Cummings’ departure on Sunday ahead of the daily briefing from Downing Street, in which Mr Johnson backed his adviser.
A short time after the daily briefing, a tweet was posted on the official UK Civil Service Twitter account saying;
‘Arrogant and offensive.
Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?’
The UK Civil Service implements the policy of the government of the day and delivers public services, and is supposed to be a politically neutral body. The tweet was deleted within ten minutes of it being posted and the Cabinet Office later announced it was investigating the matter.
Also following the daily briefing, MPs, members of the media and members of the public criticised Boris Johnson’s decision not to take action surrounding the trip by Mr Cummings. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted;
“This was a test of the Prime Minister and he has failed it.
It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings.”
The hashtags #NotMyPrimeMinister and #JohnsonOut were trending on Sunday evening. #YesBoris was also trending for a time as a number of tweets shared support for the Prime Minister and his decision to back Dominic Cummings.
Photo Credit: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)