BORIS JOHNSON’S senior aide Dominic Cummings continued to dig his heels in today despite pressure to step down after breaching lockdown rules by travelling 260 miles to his parents’ property.
Mr Cummings said his decision to drive from his home in London to County Durham was based not only on fears over a lack of childcare if he became incapacitated with Covid-19 but also concerns about his family’s safety.
At a press conference in Downing Street’s rose garden today, he complained that the media had suggested that he had opposed lockdown and “did not care about many deaths.”
After Mr Cummings arrived half an hour late for the press conference, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy tweeted: “If Dominic Cummings turned up this late to the job centre, he’d be sanctioned.”
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth posted: “Slow on lockdown, slow on PPE, slow on testing, slow to his own press conference.”
After eventually turning up, Mr Cummings read out a lengthy statement, with no mention of his job security mentioned, criticising the media for the attention he has been given in recent days.
He claimed that he had acted legally and within the rules, despite reports that he circumvented the government’s own guidance.
Mr Cummings denied that there had been “one rule for him, one rule for everyone else,” and refused to apologise.
He added: “The truth is that I had argued for lockdown, I did not oppose it, but these stories had created a very bad atmosphere around my home, I was subjected to threats of violence, people came to my house shouting threats, there were posts on social media encouraging attacks.”
Mr Cummings said that he was worried that “this situation would get worse” and “I was worried about the possibility of leaving my wife and child at home all day and often into the night while I worked in Number 10.”
The press conference came just after Durham Police issued a fresh statement on Mr Cummings’s behaviour. The force said that an officer had spoken to Mr Cummings’s father on April 1 and that Mr Cummings, his wife and child were present at the property.
Police were reportedly told that Mr Cummings and family were self-isolating at the property.