LONDON – Johnson defends aide over alleged lockdown breach

At the government’s daily press conference on Sunday (24 May), Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that his chief advisor Dominic Cummings had acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity” but failed to head off a damaging row that risks torpedoing public support for the government’s lockdown measures.

The mastermind of the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum, Cummings and his family drove 400 kilometres from London to his parent’s farm in the north-east of England after he and his wife contracted the coronavirus in late March.

The official government guidance states that people with coronavirus symptoms are to stay at home and self-isolate for two weeks. Cummings has denied any wrongdoing, arguing that the trip was made to provide childcare for his young son.

However, there are also reports that Cummings’ made several trips during the lockdown which could lead to a police investigation, questions which Johnson did not address on Sunday.

Although the government is now starting to gradually phase out the confinement measures, the row risks stoking public anger as well as derailing the government’s message that people should continue to stay at home and should not stay with other family members.

(Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)

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