Opposition parties have said that Boris Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings must go after his position became ‘completely untenable’ following a report from Durham Police.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told Boris Johnson in a cross-party meeting he should remove his aide from post, saying his position is ‘completely untenable’.
‘I told the prime minister that he needs to put public health first and remove Dominic Cummings from post. There cannot be one rule for the Tory government and another for everyone else.
‘We now have confirmation from Durham Police that Mr Cummings broke the regulations – and we already know that he broke UK government guidance. His position is completely untenable. This has become a question of Boris Johnson’s judgment and integrity.
‘As I said in the meeting, there is serious concern that this scandal is eroding public trust in the health guidance and distracting from efforts to tackle coronavirus – including the success of test, trace and isolate schemes, which rely on public adherence to the rules.’
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Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey said: ‘The Durham Police have now confirmed what the public already knew – Dominic Cummings should not have done what he did.
‘The fact that minister after minister have tried to pretend otherwise has been an insult to each and every one of us following the rules to keep each other safe from the virus.
‘Either the prime minister and his ministers lied or they have no understanding of the rules they have written.
‘This behaviour over the past few days has entirely eroded the public’s trust in the Government. The prime minister has said he wants to move on so that all efforts can be focused on the UK’s response to the pandemic, but the only way to do that would be for him to ask for Dominic Cummings’ resignation.
‘Over the past two months the British public have made huge sacrifices – losing their freedom, their livelihoods, and in many tragic instances – someone they loved.
‘The longer Dominic Cumming stays in post, the more people will feel that there is one rule for him and one for everyone else, seriously threatening public health. Unless he resigns, the sacrifices everyone has made are at risk of being entirely undermined.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson has ‘shown himself to be weak’ in dealing with the Dominic Cummings situation.
He told the World At One programme: ‘The most important thing here is not, you know, these technical issues, but the problem is by not dealing with Cummings in a strong way, the prime minister has not only shown himself to be weak, and he has shown himself to be weak – I mean he’s so desperate for this adviser he’ll cling on to him through thick and thin.
‘More importantly, what I’m worried about is that people might think ‘well,’ if Cummings doesn’t have to abide by the rules, why do I have to?
‘Then you’re on a slippery slope.’
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: ‘The country cannot afford for this saga to carry on. Only Boris Johnson can draw a line under it.
‘Keir Starmer has said that if he was prime minister, he would have sacked Dominic Cummings. Boris Johnson should follow that advice.
‘If he does not act then he will send a clear message that there is one rule for his closest adviser and another for the British people.’