There are concerns this morning that Boris Johnson’s decision to stand by his chief advisor Dominic Cummings in the face of growing public anger over his apparent very open interpretation of the lockdown rules could see that very lockdown begin to break down.
In an unscheduled appearance at yesterday’s Downing Street press conference the Prime Minister said “Is this Government asking you, the people, the public to do one thing while senior people here in Government…have been basically flouting those rules and endangering lives?”
He said the answer was: “I believe that in every respect, [Mr Cummings] has acted responsibly and legally and with integrity, and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.”
He then refused to answer journalists questions on the specifics of his chief aides round trip to Durham even cutting off questions in mid flow
Johnson faced criticism from Professor Stephen Reicher, of St Andrews University, a behavioural scientist advising the government. He said: “In a few short minutes, Boris Johnson has trashed all the advice we have given on how to build trust and secure adherence to the measures necessary to control Covid-19.”
Anger continued to rise following the press conference with many in Greater Manchester taking to twitter to express their condemnation of the events
Deansgate Labour councillor Marcus Johns tweeting
“All the missed funerals of loved ones, the missed birthdays and celebrations, every missed moment of seeing your friends and family. We all made sacrifices and they did not. It’s an outrage.”
Gorton MP Azfal Khan said “Apparently, there really is one rule for the Prime Minisiter’s mates and another for the rest of us.“
Leader of Trafford Council Andrew Western said:
“ So I’m trying to understand what the PM just said: anyone who followed the guidance but had kids didn’t care enough about their children to make a journey that contravened the rules?”
Labour leader Kier Starmer accused the Prime Minister of treating the British people with contempt saying that there was one rule for Dominic Cummings and one rule for everybody else.
The Bishop of Manchester David Walker went further tweeting that:
“Unless very soon we see clear repentance, including the sacking of Cummings, I no longer know how we can trust what ministers say sufficiently for @churchofengland to work together with them on the pandemic.”