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Boris Johnson urged to take responsibility over Dominic Cummings controversy

Labour’s Lisa Nandy said the Prime Minister must account for why the trip made by Mr Cummings from London to Durham was ‘unique’.

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Boris Johnson (Niklas Halle’n/PA)

Boris Johnson (Niklas Halle’n/PA)

Boris Johnson (Niklas Halle’n/PA)

Boris Johnson must take responsibility over the scandal surrounding his adviser Dominic Cummings, according to Labour.

Shadow foreign and commonwealth affairs secretary Lisa Nandy said the Prime Minister must account for why the trip made by his chief adviser from London to Durham was “so unique” that the rules on lockdown had to be broken.

She said that if Mr Johnson is unable to do so, he must take action to restore public confidence.

Mr Cummings has been under fire since details of a 260-mile trip from London to the North East of England he made with his family emerged, with a string of Conservative MPs calling for his sacking.

Speaking on the BBC’s Breakfast programme, Ms Nandy said: “The Prime Minister has got to take responsibility for this now.

“He’s got to decide whether he can actually account for why that situation was so unique that the rules had to be broken, and if he can’t, then I think it’s right that he should take action to restore public confidence.

“At the moment, we’ve got a situation where both the Prime Minister and his own adviser are just refusing to resign or to sack him, and also refusing to answer basic questions.

“That’s just not sustainable. Something has got to change and it’s got to change very, very quickly if the public are going to have confidence.”

Ms Nandy said the position of defending Mr Cummings is “unsustainable”.

She added: “I think there’s a very serious underlying point about this, which is that Dominic Cummings was one of the advisers who actually wrote those rules, who helped the Government put those rules into law.

“What that guidance and those rules do is they ask families to take some very difficult personal decisions for the greater good.

“A couple, for example, in my constituency (Wigan), both of whom are frontline workers, both of whom contracted Covid and have young children, made a very difficult decision just to try and manage and not calling grandparents for help.

“That was a very, very hard thing for them to do. They worried about the welfare of their children and right across the country we’ve seen families having to make those very, very difficult decisions.

“Yet the Prime Minister’s own adviser seems to be allowed to take the opposite approach. That really is unsustainable.”

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said it is time to “move on” from the scandal over the trip to Durham.

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Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick said it is time to move on (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick said it is time to move on (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick said it is time to move on (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Asked if Mr Cummings should resign, Mr Jenrick told the BBC’s Breakfast programme: “No, he shouldn’t.

“He has given his explanation to the Prime Minister, who listened and concluded that he’d acted reasonably and legally.

“The Prime Minister then asked him to give that statement on Monday to the public and to answer questions from journalists, he answered them for over an hour and now, I think, is the time for us all to move on.

“That’s not to say this isn’t an important issue or that people don’t care about it, but I think there’s a lot more that we need to focus on now.”

Mr Jenrick said the explanation given by Mr Cummings over his reasons for travelling to Durham was “reasonable”.

Asked if he could understand the anger of the public over the issue, Mr Jenrick said: “I can and many people would disagree with the decisions that Dominic Cummings made, both members of the public and members of Parliament.

“But he set out why he made those decisions and his motivations, which were to protect his unwell wife and his young child, and to self-isolate at a household somewhere where he believed he could get the childcare and support that they needed.

“I think that that’s a reasonable explanation and it’s a legal one, it doesn’t look as if any of the guidelines or the rules have been broken.

“My view is that now we accept that and we move on because there are many, many more important issues that we need to be talking about.”

PA