He did not choose the simplest solution. By choosing to keep his special adviser Dominic Cummings accused of violating containment against the coronavirus, Boris Johnson failed to put an end to the controversy. Above all, it now appears weakened before the forthcoming announcement of relaxation of the restrictions.
Because the British Prime Minister met this Monday in the middle of the day his government, which is working on the reopening of certain non-essential businesses, closed since the introduction of these protective measures on March 23. All while the first wave of deconfinement presented in early May by Johnson had been very strongly criticized.
However, despite this new political deadline and the flood of calls, including from the ranks of the Conservative majority, to demand the departure of the powerful and controversial adviser, the head of the Conservative government supported mordicus Dominic Cummings. The latter must also speak in the afternoon, according to Downing Street.
A family motif
Dominic Cummings acted “responsibly, legally and honestly,” said Boris Johnson during the daily coronavirus press conference on Sunday. Brain of the 2016 referendum campaign that led to Brexit, 48-year-old Cummings has been in the midst of a political storm since two newspapers revealed on Friday evening that he had visited his wife in late March and their son at his parents’ home in Durham, 400 km northeast of London, when he feared he had contracted the Covid-19.
According to Downing Street, Dominic Cummings needed help looking after his son because his wife was sick, and the family stayed in a building separate from the property. On the NewStatesman website, Dominic Cummings’ parents explained the arrival of their son through the death of his uncle.
The intervention of Boris Johnson, far from having ended the controversy, weakened him politically, including within his own troops. “This is a classic case of do what i say, not what i do “Said former Conservative Minister Paul Maynard,” it seems completely untenable, his position is untenable.
Majority MP Simon Hoare said in the Daily Mail that “all hope remains that everything will fade in 24 hours is lost”. “It was a test for the Prime Minister and he failed,” reacted Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, denouncing “an insult to the sacrifices made by the British people”.
Critics arise from all sides, far beyond the political spectrum. Boris Johnson, one of the scientists charged with advising the government, Pr Stephen Reicheir, “laminated all the advice we gave him on how to build trust and buy-in” from the British to the guidelines necessary to fight against the spread of the virus.
Church officials abounded along the same lines: “The question now is this: do we accept that we are lied to and that the Prime Minister takes us for pears?” “Tweeted the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines.
Monday morning, videos posted on the internet show Dominic Cummings being apostrophied near his home and treated as a “hypocrite”.
Other containment strains?
In the United Kingdom, the second country most mourning the pandemic with 36,793 deaths – more than 41,000 including unconfirmed cases – this case adds yet more weight to the shoulders of Boris Johnson, strongly criticized for his management of the crisis and the late establishment of containment.
It could even take a judicial turn, emphasize the Guardian and the Daily Mirror, at the origin of the revelations which since Friday evening cause scandal. According to these two newspapers, a pensioner convinced to have seen Dominic Cummings on April 12 at Barnard Castle, about fifty kilometers from Durham, filed a complaint for possible breaches of health laws.
They claim that Dominic Cummings was also seen in Durham on April 19, five days after returning to London to return to work after his recovery. Boris Johnson said that many of the allegations relayed in the press were “manifestly false”, without going into details.