James O'Brien's incredibly powerful response to Boris Johnson defending Dominic Cummings

25 May 2020, 10:57 | Updated: 26 May 2020, 13:21

By Fiona Jones

This is James O'Brien's incredibly powerful response to Boris Johnson defending Dominic Cummings.

The Prime Minister defended senior aide Dominic Cummings in Sunday's press briefing after reports he flouted lockdown rules repeatedly by travelling to Durham from his London home on multiple occasions.

Mr Johnson'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.

James O'Brien started by reading two letters; one letter written by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the public and one letter written in 1982 to the Prime Minister's father, Stanley Johnson, by his university master.

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James repeated this sentence "I think he honestly believes it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else."

James said: "Last night the Prime Minister of this country made a fool of every single human being who did what he asked of us.

"He made a mug of every mother, every father, every daughter, every son, every brother, every sister, every nurse, every doctor, every teacher, every paramedic who have done their level best in incredibly trying circumstances to pull together. To prioritise the national interest over personal inconvenience and even misery.

"Boris Johnson stood before me and before you last night and demonstrated categorically that he still believes it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else."

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James said he did not come on here today to say "I told you so...you might have thought I was coming here to sound the trumpets of self-congratulation. I am not.

"I am sick to my stomach that at a time of unprecedented national and international danger, the leopard has still not seen fit to change his spots."

James questioned why Dominic Cummings was able to travel to Durham while "people have said goodbye via iPad because they did what Boris Johnson asked them."

"People are being asked to ignore the own evidence of their eyes and ears and it seems this time they won't," said James.

He said he does not care which ballot box people tick, "we are in the middle of an unprecedented and murderous scandal."

James continued that the reason Dominic Cummings was so heavily protected is "his skillset, his gifts, his talents are for manipulating the public, for persuading them against their own interests, to convince them to ignore the evidence of their own eyes and ears."

Mr Johnson, speaking from Downing Street on Dominic Cummings 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."

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