Ian Payne's instant reaction to the Prime Minister's defence of Dominic Cummings

24 May 2020, 18:24 | Updated: 24 May 2020, 18:53

By Fiona Jones

This was Ian Payne's instant reaction after Boris Johnson defended senior adviser Dominic Cummings following claims that he repeatedly broke coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The Prime Minister was drafted in for the government's daily coronavirus press briefing at the last minute, following allegations that his senior aide had broken lockdown rules by travelling to Durham from his London home on multiple occasions.

Mr Johnson's statement comes after a number of Conservative MPs on Sunday called for Mr Cummings to be sacked or to resign.

The UK leader, 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."

Ian Payne reacted to the press briefing: "Wow. That was pretty amazing.

"Key point: asked specifically, asked which stories are not true, did he go to Barnard Castle? Didn't answer it. Never answers specific questions."

Ian Payne said that when he heard Boris Johnson was doing tonight's press conference and that it was delayed an hour, he thought the Prime Minister would "clear it up."

"He hasn't addressed any of it. He didn't talk about how many times he went to Durham, where he stayed, he didn't say did he go and leave somewhere else, who was in the car, who wasn't in the car.

"It was just pathetic. And if you think that's going to put a lid on it, I'm afraid the Prime Minister is very very much mistaken."