According to him, he acted “legally and reasonably”. Charged with breaching confinement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings, defended himself on Monday, trying to calm the political storm caused by his behavior. After an intervention by the head of government who failed to put an end to the controversy, the powerful and controversial adviser explained himself at length to the press, without expressing any regrets.
Faced with journalists gathered in the gardens of Downing Street, the brains of the Brexit referendum campaign explained that he had neither “proposed” if “considered” to resign, despite the crowd of calls in this sense, including within the conservative majority.
Precise chronology of the supporting facts, he explained that he chose to go with his wife and their four-year-old son to his parents’ home in Durham, 400 km north-east of London, when he feared he would have contracted Covid-19, for child care reasons. The family stayed in a building on the family property.
“An insult to the sacrifices made by the British people”
He admitted, however, that he had not discussed the trip with the Prime Minister, who had just tested positive for Covid-19, “an error,” he said, the only one he had. conceded. “I don’t think there is a rule for me and a rule for the people,” he said.
Boris Johnson had flown to his aid the day before, claiming that Dominic Cummings had acted “in a responsible, legal and honest manner”. But despite his intervention, many Conservative members continued to demand the departure of the councilor.
“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”.
Cummings in court?
Critics go far beyond the political spectrum. Boris Johnson, one of the scientists charged with advising the government, Professor Stephen Reicher, “laminated all the advice we gave him on how to secure the confidence and buy-in” of the British to the instructions 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.
In the United Kingdom, the second country most mourning the pandemic with 36,793 deaths – more than 41,000 including the 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.
Dominic Cummings said on Monday that he wanted to make sure that he was able to drive for his next return to London on that day, and that he did not approach anyone. On the other hand, he strongly denied having gone to Durham again on April 19, five days after his return to work in London after his recovery.