British government defends advisor to Boris Johnson accused of breaching containment

Councilor Dominic Cummings returned to his London home on May 23. Alberto Pezzali / AP

The British government stood up for defense on Saturday 23 May of a close adviser to Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, accused of having broken the rules of containment established to fight against the spread of the new coronavirus.

In late March, Dominic Cummings, 48, left his London home to go to his seventy-year-old parents in Durham, in the north-east of England, when he had symptoms of Covid-19, revealed Friday evening dailies Daily Mirror and The Guardian. According to witnesses quoted by the daily newspapers The Observer and Sunday Mirror On Sunday, Mr. Cummings was seen in Durham again on April 18, after he returned to London to work after his first trip.

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In the United Kingdom, the second country to pay the heaviest price with 36,675 deaths – more than 41,000 including the unconfirmed cases, this affair comes to embarrass Prime Minister Boris Johnson, already targeted by critics on his management of the crisis. With the revelation of this displacement 400 kilometers from London in full confinement, calls are multiplying to demand the departure of the powerful and controversial Dominic Cummings.

Evil genius

Brain of the campaign in 2016 for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, it is sometimes portrayed as a kind of evil genius of the Conservative leader. Faced with the controversy, a spokesman for Downing Street assured that the adviser to Boris Johnson had acted in line with the recommendations of the government. Challenging any rule violation, he said the counselor did so because he needed help with the care of his son and that he had stayed in a building separate from the property. According to this source, his sister left shopping outside for the family.

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To journalists who came to question him outside his London home, Dominic Cummings said he had behaved “In a reasonable and legal manner”. “Who cares about appearances? “, he said, “The question is to do what is right, not what you think”.

“The British people do not expect that there will be one law for themselves and another law for Dominic Cummings”said a spokesman for the Labor Party, for whom the response from Downing Street “Raises more questions than it answers”.

Unanswered questions

For the leader of the Scottish separatists in the Westminster Parliament, Ian Blackford, “He must resign or be dismissed”. Who knew about this decision, was there a sanction from the Prime Minister and would Downing Street question the police statements?

Because it confirmed to have been informed on March 31, and indicated to have carried out a recall of the rules in application of the national recommendations. But Downing Street frontally contradicted these claims, explaining that“At no time did the police speak to him (Dominic Cummings) or his family about this, as reported”.

Despite many questions from journalists, the daily Downing Street press conference on the coronavirus failed to provide the hoped-for clarification. The recommendations include an element of ” common sense “said Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer.

Two resounding resignations

At the time of the events, Mr. Johnson’s government required people to only go out to meet their basic needs and demanded that those with symptoms not leave their homes.

“Those who seek to politicize” this case “Should look in the mirror”, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab tweeted, saying that the necessary explanations had been provided.

Prior to this case, the UK had two resounding resignations for breaching the confinement in force since March 23. An influential government scientific advisor, Professor Neil Fergusson had resigned after receiving a woman, presented as his mistress, into his home. In early April, the head of the Scottish health services, Catherine Calderwood, left her post after admitting to having visited her second home twice.

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The World with AFP

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