Transport secretary Grant Shapps, who defended Dominic Cummings after his trip to Barnard Castle during lockdown last year, has admitted the former aide had undermined the government’s public health message.
“I thought he was right at the time to stand by his family, to go into effective quarantine, and that’s what he did,” Shapps told the BBC.
“I accept it was a moment which actually in the public’s mind undermined the wider messages and I accept that.
“I thought he was doing what he thought was right by his family at the time.”
But he dismissed the focus on Cummings as “Westminster bubble stuff” and “I do find this obsession about one single adviser a bit odd”.
Asked whether Cummings is a liar, he said: “I will leave it to others to judge how reliable a witness that former adviser happens to be.
“What I can tell you is what’s happened: for example, previously it was said that the prime minister had made comments about not going into another lockdown.
“Not only did we go into a second lockdown in November, we went into a third lockdown in January – indeed we are still coming out of that third lockdown – and that will have saved many lives and given us the chance to get the vaccination into people’s arms in the meantime.”
Asked whether Cummings was a “trusted adviser”, Shapps said: “He was certainly an adviser of the government. It’s for others to decide the trusted part of it.”