UK PM Johnson resists calls to sack Cummings over 400 km lockdown drive

UK PM Johnson resists calls to sack Cummings over 400 km lockdown drive

By Man Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted calls on Saturday from opposition events to sack adviser Dominic Cummings after he travelled 400 km (250 miles) to northern England whereas his spouse confirmed COVID-19 signs.

Cummings, who masterminded the 2016 marketing campaign to depart the European Union through the Brexit referendum, travelled to Durham in late March, when a strict lockdown was already in place.

Johnson’s workplace stated Cummings made the journey to make sure his younger son may very well be correctly cared for, as his spouse was unwell with COVID-19 and there was a “excessive chance” that Cummings would himself change into unwell.

“I behaved moderately and legally,” Cummings instructed reporters exterior his home after telling them to remain 2 metres aside in accordance with authorities pointers.

When a reporter stated it didn’t look good, he stated: “Who cares about beauty – it is a query of doing the fitting factor it is not about what you guys assume.”

Downing Road stated his “actions have been according to coronavirus pointers.”

Johnson’s most senior ministers, together with Michael Gove, Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab and Well being Secretary Matt Hancock, defended Cummings.

However opposition events known as for Johnson to sack Cummings and stated the lockdown guidelines made clear that these with suspected COVID-19 signs ought to isolate with their complete family.

“The prime minister’s chief adviser seems to consider that it’s one rule for him and one other for the British folks,” the Labour Social gathering stated. “We’re nonetheless unclear who knew about this choice and when, whether or not this was sanctioned by the prime minister.”

Just some days earlier than Cummings’ journey, Johnson imposed a lockdown in the UK and requested folks to remain at residence. He stated on March 23 that individuals “shouldn’t be assembly members of the family who don’t reside in your house”.

Shortly after Johnson introduced that he had examined constructive for COVID-19, Cummings sprinted out of Downing Road on March 27 and developed signs on the weekend of March 28-29.

Authorities pointers say that those that have COVID-19 or suspect they’ve it ought to self-isolate for at the very least seven days together with their family and never depart their home for any purpose.

The Scottish Nationwide Social gathering and the Liberal Democrats requires Cummings to be sacked.

Different outstanding figures have resigned after having damaged lockdown guidelines.

Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson give up as a member of the federal government’s scientific advisory group after was visited at residence by his girlfriend. Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, stepped down after she was caught making two journeys to her second residence.

(Reporting by Man Faulconbridge; Enhancing by Angus MacSwan and John Stonestreet)

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