Tory Brexiteers have turned on Vote Leave mastermind Dominic Cummings – calling for him to resign from his post as senior aide to the prime minister over allegations he broke lockdown rules more than once.
Boris Johnson has been urged to sack Cummings after reports surfaced that the 48-year-old made a second trip to County Durham, where his family lives, despite stringent social restrictions.
Brexiteer MPs, including the former European Research Group chair Steve Baker, said Cummings ‘must go’ over the fresh allegations, but appearing on television, transport secretary Grant Shapps has said reports of a second trip were ‘not true’.
According to the Sunday Times, Boris Johnson told allies he would not throw Cummings ‘to the dogs’ following reports he made the journey to ensure his four-year-old child could be looked after as he and his wife were ill.
But according to reports in the Observer and Sunday Mirror, the former Vote Leave campaign co-ordinator made a second trip to Durham and was seen there on April 19 – five days after being photographed on his return to Westminster.
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Baker told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: ‘If he doesn’t resign, we’ll just keep burning through Boris’s political capital at a rate we can ill afford in the midst of this crisis.
‘It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everybody else understood Dominic’s slogans to mean ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’.’
Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, said Cummings ‘has to go’ because he broke the rules and has not apologised.
Speaking on Nigel Farage’s show on LBC, he said: ‘When an adviser becomes the story, the adviser has to go.
‘Boris Johnson can carry on without Dominic Cummings if he goes but it will be hard if he stays.’
Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet, joined the chorus of backbenchers.
He tweeted: ‘While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child. There cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else.
‘He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable.’
Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said: ‘Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.
‘The government would be better without him.’
Simon Hoare, MP for North Dorset, also tweeted: ‘With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the government’s reputation he must consider his position. Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It’s his cavalier ‘I don’t care; I’m cleverer than you’ tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the prime minister/government and I don’t like that’.
Downing Street has said it would ‘not waste time’ replying to the fresh allegations from ‘campaigning newspapers’.