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25 May, 2020 16:15

Cummings REFUSES to apologize for Covid lockdown-breaking trip, cites child’s health – but convoluted story triggers MORE scrutiny

Cummings REFUSES to apologize for Covid lockdown-breaking trip, cites child’s health – but convoluted story triggers MORE scrutiny

After days of controversy Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings has offered a lengthy defense of his 260-mile lockdown trip across England. However, his lack of apology has sparked fury and left many asking more questions.

Cummings held a press conference in the garden of 10 Downing Street on Monday amid mounting calls for his resignation from across the political spectrum and the public at large.

The 48-year-old claimed that none of his usual childcare options were available and his wife had become suddenly ill. Out of worry for the safety of his family at their London home he decided to travel across England to a secluded cottage on his family’s estate in Durham.

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The journey came at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in April, while coronavirus movement restrictions that Cummings helped to draft were in place. The political strategist said that he believed that this was the safest option and he decided to take his family there before returning to London to work.

The press conference appeared to further fan the flames of public anger as socal was quickly flooded with messages attacking the adviser. A range of phrases related to Cummings’ account of his movements quickly shot to the top of the UK trending charts including ‘#Domnishambles’, ‘Barnard Castle’, and ‘#CumGate’.

However, others expressed their support for Cummings and poured scorn on the reporters questioning Johnson’s right hand man. The swell of messages prompted ‘#ScumMedia’ to climb to fifth in the trending charts.

“I can understand that some people will argue I should have stayed at home in London. I understand these views, I understand the intense hardship and sacrifice the entire country has gone through. However, I respectfully disagree,” Cummings said at the press conference.

When pressed by reporters about whether he would apologise for his actions Cummings refused and claimed he had always behaved “reasonably and legally”.

Cummings said that he felt at the time that it was highly likely that he had contracted Covid-19 due to the fact that he was in close contact with the prime minister and others who were infected with the coronavirus. He developed symptoms of the disease and went into isolation for two weeks. 

He said that he decided to return to work 15 days after developing symptoms however the illness had affected his eyesight so he claimed that he drove to the town of Barnard Castle to see if it was safe for him to drive to London.

He said that him and his family sat by the riverbank for 15 minutes, and went for a walk in the woods.

This explanation sparked a furious backlash on Twitter, with many accusing Cummings of trying to fool the public. Broadcaster Piers Morgan said: “If his eyesight was damaged, why was he driving a car?”

“He drove 30 miles to the castle to check his eyesight??! Shut up Cummings, we’re not mugs,” he added.

Tony Blair’s former political adviser Alastair Campbell said: “Remind me that if I have an illness that affects my eyesight that I take a car for a drive to a castle to make sure I could go for a long drive.”

The press conference occurred just one day after Johnson offered his public backing to his embattled aide, a move that unleashed an avalanche of criticism in the UK, with many from across the political spectrum, including bishops and Tory-friendly newspapers, slamming the prime minister.

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