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23 May, 2020 13:30

Neither foul nor fireable offense? Opposition demands Cummings gets the boot for his lockdown-evading ‘breach’

Neither foul nor fireable offense? Opposition demands Cummings gets the boot for his lockdown-evading ‘breach’

Number 10 has locked horns with the opposition after it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s adviser, Dominic Cummings, took a cross-country journey in violation of the lockdown, leading to calls for his resignation.

A Downing Street spokesman argued on Saturday that Cummings had a legitimate reason for traveling more than 260 miles (400km). The government maintains that Cummings took the journey because he needed his parents’ help with childcare while quarantining with his wife, who had tested positive for the virus.

“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, adding that his actions were “in line” with guidelines issued to stop the spread of the illness. The administration also denied reports that the police had spoken to Cummings or his family about the incident.

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That did not go down well with the Labour Party, which has demanded a “swift explanation” for the supposed lockdown breach, stressing that it appears as if Cummings had violated the government’s “very clear” guidance prohibiting non-essential travel.

The Scottish National Party took a more hardline position, with the party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, calling for Cummings to get the boot.

“Dominic Cummings has to do the right thing, and if he doesn’t resign, Boris Johnson should sack him and he should do that this morning,” Blackford told BBC Radio 4.

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Johnson’s government has been accused of taking a “do as I say, not as a I do” attitude toward the lockdown. Professor Neil Ferguson, who advised the government on how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, resigned after media reports revealed his lover had visited him at his home during the lockdown.

The Tories aren’t the only ones skirting lockdown rules, however. Several lawmakers have found themselves in hot water with the public for their lax interpretation of the guidelines. For example, Labour Party MP Tahir Ali was reportedly among 100 guests at a funeral in April, leading to a reprimand from police and Ali having to issue a public apology.

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