Boris Johnson has actually supported his top aide Dominic Cummings, stating he “followed the instincts of every father and every parent” and “I do not mark him down for that”.
The prime minister firmly insisted his unique consultant had “acted responsibly and legally and with integrity” after dealing with criticism for taking a trip from London to Durham throughout lockdown.
Mr Cummings was called into 10 Downing Street previously on Sunday following reports he entered into self-isolation at his family’s farm 260 miles away with his kid and partner, who had COVID-19 signs.
A Number Of Tory MPs required him to be sacked for the journey that came while Britons were being informed to “stay at home” to stop the infection dispersing at the end of March.
However at the day-to-day Downing Street coronavirus rundown, Mr Johnson stated after “extensive face-to-face conversations” with Mr Cummings, he concluded the former Vote Leave boss “had no alternative” however to make the trip.
He added that Mr Cummings had actually been “travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus”.
Mr Johnson acknowledged the damage the accusations had the possible to do.
More from Dominic Cummings
He stated the “big question” being asked was “is this government asking you – the people, the public – to do one thing, while senior people here in government do something else?”
“Have we been asking you to make sacrifices, to obey social distancing – stay at home – while some people have been basically flouting those rules and endangering lives?”
The prime minister described his discussions with his top consultant over the weekend were “because I take this matter so seriously”.
Concerns still loom over Mr Cummings’ motions after a witness declared to have actually identified him 30 miles from his family’s farm walking by the River Tees near Barnard Castle on 12 April, throughout the duration he was thought to be self-isolating.
Robin Lees, a retired chemistry instructor, informed Sky News he identified Mr Cummings on that celebration and documented a “distinctive” number plate.
Mr Cummings was likewise supposedly identified by another member of public in Houghall Woods near Durham home on 19 April.
Mr Johnson did not straight challenge the 2 other accusations about Mr Cummings when they were put to him by a reporter at the press conference.
The prime minister stated he had “looked at them carefully” and was “content that at all times throughout his period in isolation… he behaved responsibly and correctly and with a view to defeating the virus”.
A declaration by Durham Cops, who state they talked to Mr Cummings’ family, likewise disputes with Downing Street’s claim the family was not called by officers.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has actually required a questions, stated Sunday’s rundown 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,” he stated in a declaration.
” The public will be forgiven for believing there is one guideline for the prime minister’s closest consultant and another for the British people.
” The prime minister’s actions have actually weakened self-confidence in his own public health message at this vital time.
“Millions were watching for answers and they got nothing.”
A tweet from the official UK civil service account posted simply after the press conference, which was later on erased, stated: “Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”
Analysis by Joe Pike, political reporter
This was a big decision for Boris Johnson, a vibrant call to completely back his chief consultant.
The prime minister argued that Dominic Cummings “acted responsibly and legally” and “followed the instincts of every father”.
Yet Mr Johnson looked uneasy at today’s press conference and prevented responding to crucial concerns from reporters, consisting of claims that Mr Cummings made a day trip from Durham to Barnard Castle at the height of the lockdown.
It makes one thing perfectly clear: Mr Cummings is too important for Boris Johnson to lose at such an important time for the federal government and the nation.
Today’s press conference hurt, however it appears sacking him would have been a far larger wrench for the PM.
As one minister informed me previously: “No one might have got us through the in 2015 like [Dominic Cummings] did”, in specific in making Brexit take place.
The danger for Boris Johnson is that this episode has effects far beyond Westminster: and threatens the public’s determination to follow the federal government’s public health recommendations.