Dominic Cummings 'is toast' say reactions after press conference about trip to Durham

25 May 2020, 18:47

MPs and high-profile figures reacted to the press conference held by Mr Cummings
MPs and high-profile figures reacted to the press conference held by Mr Cummings. Picture: PA

Dominic Cummings "is toast" following a press conference in which he offered explanations for his trip to Durham during lockdown, according to high-profile reactions.

"After that car-crash press conference, Boris Johnson has no option but to sack his chief adviser," the SNP's Ian Blackford wrote on Twitter, kicking off many of the responses.

"There was no apology and no contrition for his behaviour - and now, following this unrepentant press conference, there are no excuses left [...]

"The prime minister has no option but to sack him. His failure to do so so far is a gross failure of leadership."

READ MORE: Dominic Cummings says he has 'not considered' resigning over lockdown breach

Meanwhile, former Downing Street press secretary and political aide Alastair Campbell said Mr Cummings was "toast," adding: "And if he is not toast, Boris Johnson is toast."

The angry reactions across swathes of the political spectrum on Monday come after Mr Cummings told a rare press conference at Downing Street that he had "never considered" resigning after it was revealed he drove hundreds of miles between London and Durham despite strict stay-at-home rules he helped to formulate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"In this situation I tried to exercise my judgement as best I could; I believe the law says I behaved reasonably and legally, balancing the safety of my family and the extreme situation in No10 and the public interests in an effective government to which I can contribute," Mr Cummings said.

He recounted a long version of his actions, in which he said he did not consult the prime minister before travelling to Durham - a journey he said he took to ensure there could be adequate childcare for his son.

But other MPs were less than impressed with the statement of events, including Liberal Democrats MP Jamie Stone, who said Mr Cummings had demonstrated "breathtaking arrogance" as someone who "thinks he is the elite and can do what he wants and never has to say sorry."

Labour MP Diane Abbott said she thought Mr Cummings believed "HE is the boss" in response to why he hadn't consulted with Mr Johnson ahead of the trip.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the recent behaviour simply "undermines" the government's message around COVID-19, which amounts to a resign-worthy offence.

According to Mr Cummings, a "very bad atmosphere" was felt around his home last month, and he believed driving to the cottage on his father's farm was the "best thing to do" after his wife believed she had caught COVID-19.

He added: "At this farm, my parents live in one house, my sister and two children live in another house and there was a separate cottage roughly 50 metres away from either of them."

"Your wife was ill, you thought you were infectious and you've got a kid. Those circumstances are not exceptional. They're commonplace," wrote author JK Rowling on Twitter.

She quipped: "But if this is a defence, I think I'll pop out and nick a dog, because I quite fancy a third dog and I've never read a law that says JK Rowling specifically can't steal dogs."

But not all the reaction negative. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Mr Cummings was "right" to lay out the full account of his trip, and urged for the conversation be moved back to fighting the disease.

His former boss Michael Gove said he had acted "legally and reasonably", adding that it was "clear" that untrue accusations had been made.

Conservative MP Angela Richardson said the explanations offered were "full, frank and fair," and also encouraged people to "move forward".

But Lib Dems MP Layla Moran pointed out that flouting the rules highlights a more serious issue: "People had died," she said.

"Important questions need answering. PPE. Testing. Care home deaths. This Cummings debacle means another day where a man was played and not the ball. Get a grip Boris Johnson. Sack him.

Then focus, and do your job."