Boris Johnson resists calls to sack adviser Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown rules

May 24, 2020

National
Boris Johnson resists calls to sack adviser Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown rules

London [UK], May 24 (ANI): British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday resisted calls from opposition parties to sack adviser Dominic Cummings after he traveled 400 kilometers from London to northern England while his wife showed COVID-19 symptoms, as per local media sources cited by Al Jazeera.
UK's Guardian and Mirror newspapers reported that Cummings, who masterminded the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum, was seen at his parents' property in Durham, northeast England, at the end of March, when a strict lockdown was already in place.
A lockdown that began on March 23 mandated that people should remain at their primary residence, leaving only for essential local errands and exercise and not visit relatives. Anyone with symptoms was told to completely isolate themselves.
Durham Police said officers went to a house on March 31 and "explained to the family the guidelines around self-isolation and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel". They, however, did not mention Cummings by his name.
Johnson's office said Cummings made the journey to ensure his young son could be properly cared for, as his wife was ill with COVID-19 and there was a "high likelihood" that Cummings would himself become unwell.
"I behaved reasonably and legally," Cummings said on Saturday. Asked if he would consider his position, he said: "Obviously not." He then chided reporters for being wrong about the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.
"You guys are probably all about as right about that as you were about Brexit: do you remember how right you all were about that?" Cummings said.
Ministers voiced support for the senior adviser.
"I can tell you that the Prime Minister provides Mr Cummings with his full support," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told reporters, adding that he did not know when the prime minister found out about the journey. Downing Street said Cummings' "actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines".
The local media reported later on Saturday that Cummings may have made a second trip to northern England during the lockdown.
Opposition parties called for Johnson to sack Cummings and Labour called on the country's most senior civil servant, Mark Sedwill, to open an investigation into the journey.
"The prime minister's chief adviser appears to believe that it is one rule for him and another for the British people," the Labour Party said.
"We are still unclear who knew about this decision and when, whether this was sanctioned by the prime minister," it added. (ANI)