Boris Johnson: Dominic Cummings acted with ‘responsibility and integrity’

PUBLISHED: 17:08 24 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:01 24 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street on coronavirus (COVID-19). Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street on coronavirus (COVID-19). Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright.

PA Media

Prime minister Boris Johnson has backed his top aide Dominic Cummings over allegations he breached lockdown restrictions, saying: “He has acted responsibly, legally and with integrity”.

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The PM told a Downing Street press briefing: “I have had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus – and when he had no alternative – I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent.

“And I do not mark him down for that.

“Though there have been many other allegations about what happened when he was in self-isolation and thereafter, some of them palpably false, I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly and legally and with integrity and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.”

Boris Johnson gave a public show of support to embattled aide Dominic Cummings, saying he acted with “responsibly and legally and with integrity”.


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The prime minister told a Downing Street press conference: “I have had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus - and when he had no alternative - I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent.

“And I do not mark him down for that.”

Boris Johnson told the Downing Street press conference that “some” of the allegations about Dominic Cummings’ behaviour during self-isolation were “palpably false”.

“Though there have been many other allegations about what happened when he was in self-isolation and thereafter, some of them palpably false, I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly and legally and with integrity and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.”

When asked why Cummings needed to travel to Durham when he has now said that his family did not care for his son, Johnson said: “The guidance makes it very clear that where you have particular childcare needs that has got to be taken into account.”

He added: “I have seen a lot of stuff in the last few days about this episode of self-isolation by Mr Cummings that does not seem to correspond remotely with reality.

“As far as I can see he stuck to the rules and he acted legally and responsibly with the sole objective of avoiding such contact as would spread the virus.

“His object was to stop the spread of the virus and he behaved in such a way as to do that.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas criticised his defence of his adviser.

She wrote on Twitter: “Unbelievable - PM says Cummings has acted ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’.

“In fact he’s acted arrogantly, illegally and with gross irresponsibility.

“Even by PM’s own abysmal standards, this must surely be the lowest point.”

Shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, tweeted: “(Boris Johnson) said Cummings was following his instincts, the rest of the country was following the rules.

“Where does that leave us if everyone now is to follow their instincts?”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said in a statement: “Boris Johnson’s breathtaking arrogance sends out the message that there is one rule for the Tory government and another for the rest of us.

“He is trying to take the public for fools, but I have no doubt that people will see right through it.”

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