UK Civil Service's Twitter account calls Boris Johnson's response 'arrogant and offensive'

24 May 2020, 18:30

The UK Civil Service Twitter account called Boris Johnson's response arrogant and offensive
The UK Civil Service Twitter account called Boris Johnson's response arrogant and offensive. Picture: Twitter
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The UK Civil Service Twitter account has called Boris Johnson's decision to defend Dominic Cummings "arrogant and offensive."

The prime minister gave his full public backing to his senior adviser on Sunday, following allegations that Mr Cummings had travelled to Durham from London on multiple occasions despite lockdown measures being in place.

In a post that has since been deleted, the official Twitter page of the UK Civil Service asked: "Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?"

It also called the prime minister's decision to defend his senior adviser "arrogant and offensive."

The post was only up for around 10 or 15 minutes but quickly received more than 32,000 retweets and 37,000 likes.

It is unclear whether the post was written by someone in the organisation or whether the account was hacked.

The Cabinet Office has since responded, saying: "An unauthorised tweet was posted on a government channel this evening. The post has been removed and we are investigating the matter."

Mr Johnson was drafted in for the government's daily coronavirus press briefing at the last minute, following the allegations regarding his senior aide.

The prime minister's statement comes after a number of Conservative MPs came out on Sunday to call for Mr Cummings to either be sacked or to resign.

Mr Johnson, speaking from Downing Street, said: "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."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer repeated his call for an urgent public inquiry into Mr Cummings' actions following the press conference.

"This was a test of the Prime Minister and he has failed it," he wrote on Twitter.

"It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings.

"The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the Prime Minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.

"The Prime Minister’s actions have undermined confidence in his own public health message at this crucial time.

"Millions were watching for answers and they got nothing. That’s why the Cabinet Secretary must now launch an urgent inquiry."

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