Dominic Cummings 'is toast' say reactions after press conference about trip to Durham
25 May 2020, 18:47 | Updated: 25 May 2020, 20:12
Dominic Cummings "is toast" following a press conference in which he offered explanations for his trip to Durham during lockdown, according to high-profile reactions.
"After that car-crash press conference, Boris Johnson has no option but to sack his chief adviser," the SNP's Ian Blackford wrote on Twitter, kicking off many of the responses.
"There was no apology and no contrition for his behaviour - and now, following this unrepentant press conference, there are no excuses left [...]
"The prime minister has no option but to sack him. His failure to do so so far is a gross failure of leadership."
After that car-crash press conference @BorisJohnson has no option but to sack his chief adviser. It is now beyond doubt that Dominic Cummings broke multiple lockdown rules, possibly on multiple occasions.— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) May 25, 2020
Journalists ask Dominic Cummings why he didn’t check with his boss Boris Johnson before driving 260 miles to his family in Durham. But that is because Cummings thinks HE is the boss pic.twitter.com/5WdnFtJIbO— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) May 25, 2020
Meanwhile, former Downing Street press secretary and political aide Alastair Campbell said Mr Cummings was "toast," adding: "And if he is not toast, Boris Johnson is toast."
The angry reactions across swathes of the political spectrum on Monday come after Mr Cummings told a rare press conference at Downing Street that he had "never considered" resigning after it was revealed he drove hundreds of miles between London and Durham despite strict stay-at-home rules he helped to formulate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"In this situation I tried to exercise my judgement as best I could; I believe the law says I behaved reasonably and legally, balancing the safety of my family and the extreme situation in No10 and the public interests in an effective government to which I can contribute," Mr Cummings said.
He recounted a long version of his actions, in which he said he did not consult the prime minister before travelling to Durham - a journey he said he took to ensure there could be adequate childcare for his son.
He is toast. And if he is not toast @BorisJohnson is toast— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) May 25, 2020
In conclusion, Cummings has shown breathtaking arrogance. He thinks he is the elite and can do what he wants and never has to say sorry. He must go.— Jamie Stone MP (@Jamie4North) May 25, 2020
But other MPs were less than impressed with the statement of events, including Liberal Democrats MP Jamie Stone, who said Mr Cummings had demonstrated "breathtaking arrogance" as someone who "thinks he is the elite and can do what he wants and never has to say sorry."
Labour MP Diane Abbott said she thought Mr Cummings believed "HE is the boss" in response to why he hadn't consulted with Mr Johnson ahead of the trip.
Cummings believes he did the right thing but accepts others may disagree. The right thing to do now is accept that most of us do disagree, and that his behaviour undermines the Government’s public health message. He should resign.— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) May 25, 2020
Cummings was told by a medic “you are not a danger to the public”. A nation begs to disagree.— Anna Soubry (@Anna_Soubry) May 25, 2020
Having listened to Mr Cummings' statement, it's now clear that the PM's decision not to sack him is an insult to all those who’ve done their utmost to stick to the rules— Deidre Brock (@DeidreBrock) May 25, 2020
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the recent behaviour simply "undermines" the government's message around COVID-19, which amounts to a resign-worthy offence.
According to Mr Cummings, a "very bad atmosphere" was felt around his home last month, and he believed driving to the cottage on his father's farm was the "best thing to do" after his wife believed she had caught COVID-19.
He added: "At this farm, my parents live in one house, my sister and two children live in another house and there was a separate cottage roughly 50 metres away from either of them."
"Your wife was ill, you thought you were infectious and you've got a kid. Those circumstances are not exceptional. They're commonplace," wrote author JK Rowling on Twitter.
People have died. Important questions need answering. PPE. Testing. Care home deaths. This Cummings debacle means another day where a man was played and not the ball. Get a grip @BorisJohnson. Sack him. Then focus, and do your job.— Layla Moran 🔶 (@LaylaMoran) May 25, 2020
No regrets. No apology. No consideration of resignation?— Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) May 25, 2020
Cummings has undermined the Government’s public health message and risked lives.
This press conference with its “special circumstances” defence has done nothing to deal with it.
Only his departure will address it.
Forget the personalities. The primary duty of any government in a deadly pandemic is to give its citizens clear public health advice. Dominic Cummings just confused the entire nation.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) May 25, 2020
She quipped: "But if this is a defence, I think I'll pop out and nick a dog, because I quite fancy a third dog and I've never read a law that says JK Rowling specifically can't steal dogs."
But not all the reaction negative. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Mr Cummings was "right" to lay out the full account of his trip, and urged for the conversation be moved back to fighting the disease.
Dominic Cummings has made clear he was motivated by trying to protect his son and he took steps to be safe.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) May 25, 2020
I understand people had serious questions about his actions - indeed many of you have made huge sacrifices - but I do believe today he explained himself.
His former boss Michael Gove said he had acted "legally and reasonably", adding that it was "clear" that untrue accusations had been made.
Conservative MP Angela Richardson said the explanations offered were "full, frank and fair," and also encouraged people to "move forward".
Dominic Cummings gave a detailed account of his actions and how he followed the rules applicable to his family. Meanwhile, Cabinet met today and was totally focused on tackling C19 & moving the country forward.— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) May 25, 2020
"If you're someone watching a lot of the media over the last three days then I think lots of people would be very angry and I completely understand that."— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) May 25, 2020
Well said Dominic Cummings. The media has twisted the narrative to its demented will.
The truth is few choices are simple. pic.twitter.com/tUHeGXLaLR
Dominic Cummings has given a full, frank and fair explanation as to his movements and thought processes. It is time to move forward.— Angela Richardson MP #StayAlertSaveLives (@AJRichardsonMP) May 25, 2020
But Lib Dems MP Layla Moran pointed out that flouting the rules highlights a more serious issue: "People had died," she said.
"Important questions need answering. PPE. Testing. Care home deaths. This Cummings debacle means another day where a man was played and not the ball. Get a grip Boris Johnson. Sack him.
Then focus, and do your job."