It is difficult to imagine this dreadful Tory Government hitting new lows, but they somehow managed to succeed yesterday.

Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, gave a bizarre explanation for his lockdown-breaking journey to Durham in late March.

He said he was worried about what would happen to his child if he and his wife were struck down by the coronavirus.

Cummings claimed the 500-mile round trip to his parents’ property was about self-isolation – even though everyone else was being urged to stay at home.

He even had the brass neck to claim that his outrageous actions were within the rules.

His weasel words were a slap in the face to everyone who has made sacrifices during the pandemic.

Grandparents have been deprived of contact with their grandchildren over the past two months, pupils have seen their education suffer and family members have not been able to attend funerals.

Even though the rules are absolutely clear, Cummings found the flexibility to suit his own personal circumstances.

Some of his other “explanations” were laughable.

In particular, his suggestion that he made a trip to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight was preposterous.

Cummings tried to use this set-piece speech to explain his actions but he ended up looking like a slippery chancer.

His behaviour was appalling, but the more serious matter is the effect it might have on the public.

Mixed messages have been sent out at a time when the Government has to be clear about what type of behaviour is and is not allowed.

Voters will also see a powerful man doing as he pleases, scurrying off to his parents’ property.

Another worrying aspect was the way in which Cummings derided the media’s reporting of his conduct.

His actions were exposed by newspapers, but he was sending a message to the public that the print media could not be trusted.

The Daily Record has launched our NHS Heroes campaign to thank the remarkable NHS staff who are on the front lines of this coronavirus emergency.

These amazing people place our health above their own and we are inviting the public to pledge their support by placing a heart on their location in the UK.

Please join us in showing these people our gratitude as we navigate this difficult time.

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* Go to http://www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk/

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This was the clearest sign yet that the influence of US president Donald Trump, who loves to goad the media, has been imported to the UK.

We hope the British public will have too much sense to fall for the Johnson administration’s con tricks.

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Coronavirus in Scotland

Cummings’ behaviour has “cut through” because people are alert to hypocrisy and double standards.

Just as Black Wednesday was the turning point for John Major’s dismal government in the 90s, so Manic Monday may be the beginning of the end for Johnson’s crew.