The Daily Mail has continued its attack on the government over how it handled the Dominic Cummings allegations.
The Daily Mail’s front page questions how a ‘defiant’ Cummings can possibly survive in the role in the wake of the public furore over the saga.
Mail columnist Dominic Sandbrook says Cummings wields ‘more raw power than any special adviser in history’ and, if Boris Johnson is unable to do his job without the aide by his side, ‘then truly there is a void at the heart of this government’.
‘Even if the saga of Barnard Castle does not end with Mr Cummings’s departure, it has raised questions about the future of this administration,’ he adds.
The sentiment is shared by the i, while The Independent directly asks for an apology from Cummings.
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The search for consequences carries on with The Guardian reporting ‘at least 20 Tory MPs’ have called for Mr Cummings’s resignation.
‘The level of outrage and openness in speaking out against the prime minister’s most senior adviser is unprecedented,’ the paper says.
The Times also reported on the ‘fury’ of some Tory MPs at the senior aide’s ‘lack of contrition’.
The paper quoted one Tory MP as saying: ‘My jaw continues to drop. He’s saying he’s so much more important than us plebs. I think we’re in big trouble, we can’t campaign our way out of this.
‘We’re losing trust and confidence – it’s draining away before our eyes.
‘The fact he didn’t apologise speaks volumes.’
The Daily Mirror did not pull any punches in its response to the statement from Cummings, who the paper labelled ‘shameless’.
Columnist Kevin Maguire skewered the PM for choosing to stand by Cummings, writing that ‘lying is his modus operandi.’
‘The Durham trip is a question of trust. And the PM is a truth-twisting, cynical liar.
‘Johnson’s act is earning jeers not cheers.’
But it wasn’t a total pile-on from the press, with Cummings receiving some support from The Sun, the Daily Express and The Daily Telegraph.
The Sun’s associate editor Trevor Kavanagh – a friend of the aide – wrote that Cummings had ’emerged triumphant’ from the press conference and his exit from Downing Street would represent ‘a loss for Britain’.
The Express’s political commentator Stephen Pollard said that while Cummings rightly needed to front up for his behaviour, there should be no suggestion that the saga could undermine the government by influencing others to breach social distancing restrictions.
‘To argue that his actions will result in other people flouting the rules because of him, and costing lives … is frankly ridiculous,’ Mr Pollard wrote.
And The Daily Telegraph used an editorial to declare it is ‘time to move on from Mr Cummings’.
‘Mr Cummings gave a good account of himself but appears to have made personal judgments for the benefit of his family that were not obviously available to others who were in equally difficult circumstances,’ the editorial said.
‘But for now, he stays in his position and we need to move on.’
But associate eEditor Camilla Tominey does strike a different tone: ‘It is extraordinary that a politician with Mr Johnson’s unique understanding of what it means to be British could have been so reckless with the public’s trust,’ she rages.
‘Far from being a Westminster ‘bubble’ story, news of Mr Cummings’ behavior during lockdown has gone well beyond SW1A and the Twittersphere. Disgust at the double standards on display is being expressed at the breakfast table, on the WhatsApp groups and over garden fences the length and breadth of the land…
‘People aren’t seeing it as a debate between left and right, but right and wrong.’