UK PM Johnson resists calls to sack Cummings over 400 km drive, update the public on coronavirus

UK PM Johnson resists calls to sack Cummings over 400 km drive, update the public on coronavirus



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted calls on Saturday from opposition parties to sack senior adviser Dominic Cummings after he travelled 400 km

(250 miles) to northern England while his wife showed COVID-19 symptoms.


Cummings, who masterminded the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum,

travelled to Durham in late March, when a strict lockdown was already in place.


Johnson’s office said Cummings made the journey to ensure his 4-year-old son could be properly cared for as his wife was ill with COVID-19

and there was a “high likelihood” that Cummings would himself become unwell.


“I behaved reasonably and legally,”

Cummings told reporters outside his house after telling them to stay 2 metres apart in accordance with government guidelines.

Asked if he would consider his position, he said: “Obviously not.”


He then chided reporters for being wrong about the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.



ALSO READ: Boris Johnson blames the public for COVID-19 spread



“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?” Cummings said.


Ministers voiced support for the senior adviser.


“I can tell you that the PM provides Mr Cummings with his full support,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told reporters,


adding that he did not know when the prime minister found out about the journey.


Downing Street said Cummings’ “actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines”


and said the Guardian and the Mirror newspapers, which first reported the story, had made “false allegations”.


“They are writing more inaccurate stories including claims that Mr Cummings returned to Durham

after returning to work in Downing Street on 14 April,” Downing Street said.

“We will not waste our time answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers.”



UK PM Johnson resists calls to sack Cummings over 400 km drive, update the public on coronavirus




But opposition parties called for Johnson to sack Cummings and Labour called on the country’s most senior civil servant,

Mark Sedwill, to open an investigation into the journey.


“The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them

and another rule for the prime minister’s most senior adviser,” Labour said.


Just a few days before Cummings’ journey, Johnson imposed a lockdown in the United Kingdom and asked people to stay at home.


He said on March 23 that people “should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home”.


Shortly after Johnson announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19,


Cummings sprinted out of Downing Street on March 27 and developed symptoms on the weekend of March 28-29.


Government guidelines say that those who have COVID-19

or suspect they have it should self-isolate for at least seven days along with their household and not leave their house for any reason.


The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats called for Cummings to be sacked.


Other prominent figures have resigned after breaking lockdown rules.


Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson quit as a member of the government’s scientific advisory group after he was visited at home by his girlfriend.


Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, stepped down after she was caught making two trips to her second home.



ALSO READ: Boris Johnson back at work tomorrow ‘despite still suffering from coronavirus’



UK PM Johnson to update the public on coronavirus


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will next week update the public on

the coronavirus crisis as his government launches its test-and-trace system

in an attempt to prevent a second deadly spike of the outbreak when people return to work.


The United Kingdom’s $3 trillion economy is facing the steepest recession in three centuries

and Johnson is facing criticism for the worst death toll in Europe after opposition parties said

he acted too slowly to counter the outbreak.


Johnson will hold a cabinet meeting of his senior ministers on Monday to update on ways the United Kingdom can slowly begin to ease the lockdown restrictions,

including an update on schools and possibly non-essential retail.

As the government begins its test and trace system,

Johnson is due to advise the public on what the data and research is indicating about the outbreak.

A test and trace system allows us to isolate new infections so that we can control the spread of this virus,

which will be vital while coronavirus remains present in the UK,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

About The Author

Lilian Osigwe

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer.

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