Great Britain

Michael Gove backs Dominic Cummings as man of ‘honour and integrity’

MICHAEL Gove has backed Dominic Cummings as man of "honour and integrity" in a fierce defence of the top aide.

The senior minister today backed the Prime Minister's top aide and suggested he never once thought he'd have done something wrong.

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Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Mr Gove backed his friend but admitted "people will make up their own minds".

He said: "The account he gave yesterday was exhaustive, it was comprehensive and verifiable.

"Most people will understand he was someone who was under pressure who sought to put the health of his wife and son first.

"I was convinced that there would be an explanation because I know he’s a man of honour and integrity.

"People will know from his own account he was acting in a way to support his family."

Mr Gove also defended the aide's trip to Barnard Castle on his wife's birthday, which the adviser insisted was to test his eyesight.

The Brexiteer said: "He wanted to make sure before taking the journey down the A1 he was safe to drive.

"The whole point of the journey was that he could drive safely.

"He drove to Barnard Castle, the family stopped, he walked a few yards, sat on a bench for a short time then walked back to the car and drove home."

Yesterday Mr Cummings said he received threats of violence to his home after false claims he opposed lockdown in favour of herd immunity.

The Prime Minister’s top aide made the revelation as he defended himself over his 260-mile trip to Durham during lockdown.

The defence of his actions comes amid calls for him to resign or be sacked by Mr Johnson for travelling to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms.

Speaking in the rose garden of Downing Street, Mr Cummings said stories had suggested he had opposed lockdown and "did not care about many deaths”.

"The truth is that I had argued for lockdown,” he said.

"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 he was worried that "this situation would get worse".

Mr Cummings also said allegations he returned to Durham for a second visit after April 14 are “false”.

He conceded that "reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances", but said: "I don't regret what I did."

Boris Johnson admits he 'regrets' Cummings lockdown scandal but continues to defend top aide

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