Revelations that Boris Johnson 's top advisor travelled 400km during lockdown spark fury
Dominic Cummings , one of the architects behind Brexit and now the top advisor to the British Prime Minister, faces calls to resign as it is alleged he flouted his own lockdown policy.
Key points:Downing Street has defended Mr Cummings' actionsMr Cummings announced he had symptoms of COVID-19 days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positivePolitical opponents are calling for Mr Cummings to resignLocal media reported that Mr Cummings, who lives in London, was seen at his parents' property in northeast England at the end of March.
The UK's lockdown, which began March 23, stipulated 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.
Local police said that 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."The previous day, Downing Street had announced that Mr Cummings was self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19.
LoadingMr Johnson's office said in a statement that Mr Cummings made the trip because his wife was showing coronavirus symptoms, he thought he was likely to also get sick, and relatives had offered to help look after the couple's young son. It said Cummings stayed in a house "near to but separate from" his extended family.
"Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for," a Downing Street spokesman said.
"At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported. His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally."The local police force has since spoken and say it stands by its statement.
Speaking to reporters outside his home, Mr Cummings says he did "the right thing" in making the trip.He said to reporters: "Who cares about good looks. It's a question of doing the right thing. It's not about what you guys think."
LoadingOne of Mr Johnson's most senior ministers, Michael Gove, said of the situation: "Caring for your wife and child is not a crime."Dominic Cummings announced he was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 just days after Boris Johnson tested positive to the virus.
(AP: Matt Dunham)Mr Cummings was one of the architects of the Brexit campaign, and was later appointed Johnson's top aide.He is one of several senior UK officials who have been accused of flouting the lockdown rules that they advocated for the rest of the country.
Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson stepped down as government scientific adviser earlier this month after a newspaper disclosed that his girlfriend had crossed London to stay with him during the lockdown. In April, Catherine Calderwood resigned as Scotland's chief medical officer after twice travelling from Edinburgh to her second home.
Political opponents of Mr Johnson are calling for Mr Cummings to follow suit."The lockdown rules were very clear: if you or anyone in your household was suspected of having COVID-19 you must immediately self-isolate and not leave the house. However, the Prime Minister's chief adviser appears to believe that it is one rule for him and another for the British people," said a spokesperson for the Labour party.
"This will cause understandable anger for the millions of people who have sacrificed so much during this crisis." Read more: ABC News »
Same thing happens here, we just don't know about it. That’s right. The Leftwaffe went crazy. Response from Govt & Cummings was spot on. Just another fuckwit politician...do as I say not as I do... You give OUR tax dollars to this beastly women? Fake news. Rampant hypocrisy should be means for termination.
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