Dominic Cummings is rejecting cries for him to step down as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser after he was accused of breaking lockdown to travel 260 miles to visit his family, BBC News reported earlier today.
After his wife began to experience COVID-19 symptoms, he traveled from London to Durham to be with her. Both the Scottish National Party and the Labour Party criticized the political strategist. They called for an inquiry, accusing him of disregarding rules created by the government to control the spread of the virus.
Calls for him to be fired or forced to step down were dismissed by Cummings, who said he was “obviously” not considering vacating his position as the prime minister’s chief adviser.
He argued that he was doing the “right thing,” and when reporters asked if it would look like a good decision to the general public, he fired back by asking why it mattered.
“Who cares about good looks? It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”
The 48-year-old politician then compared his decision to Brexit.
“You guys are probably all about as right about that as you were about Brexit: do you remember how right you all were about that,” he commented.
While Johnson has not yet commented on the alleged trip, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed that the prime minister fully supported Cummings.
When speaking at a press conference, Shapps defended Cummings’ decision to travel such a long distance. He argued that it was normal for him to want to be close to his family amid crisis.
Several people in attendance asked Shapps how Durham’s decision supported the government’s call for people to stay at home during the lockdown.
He replied that he still recommended everyone stay in place, but that “we are aware that not all these measures will be possible depending therefore on circumstances.”
He called upon individuals to decide what the best course of action is for themselves and their families.
On the other hand, Steve White, the Police and Crime Commissioner in Durham, called Cummings’ decision an “unwise” one.
Downing Street released an official statement that further defended Cummings’ choice.
“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.”
They asserted that his actions followed the coronavirus protocol.
Social media users appeared to have mixed feelings about Cummings’ extended trip. Several users have argued that he made the right call by attending to his family’s needs, while others felt it was hypocritical for him to go against his own government mandate.
It’s reasonable and fair to ask for an explanation on this. And it has been provided: two parents with Coronavirus, were anxiously taking care of their young child. Those now seeking to politicise it should take a long hard look in the mirror. https://t.co/fvfvPmlccQ
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) May 23, 2020