Johnson Faces Fury After Chief Aide Defies Lockdown

The BBC reports:

The PM’s decision to back his chief aide’s lockdown trip to Durham has sparked fears that the government’s coronavirus message will be undermined. Criticism of Boris Johnson’s decision to take no action over Mr Cummings’ 260-mile trip to his parents’ home has come from all quarters.

At least 19 Tory MPs are calling for Mr Cummings to resign or be sacked, while others have joined Labour in calling for an inquiry.

If Boris Johnson’s decision to appear at Sunday’s press conference was an attempt to close down the story about Dominic Cummings’ behaviour during the lockdown by handling it himself, it failed completely.

The Guardian reports:

Church of England bishops have fired a volley of unprecedented criticism at Boris Johnson over his defence of actions taken by his chief aide, Dominic Cummings. One suggested the church could decline to work with the government during the coronavirus crisis “unless we see clear repentance, including the sacking of Cummings”.

More than a dozen bishops questioned the integrity of the prime minister following his press conference on Sunday, in which he refused to acknowledge that Cummings had breached lockdown rules when he travelled with his infected wife and their child to Durham.

The bishops said Johnson’s defence was “risible”, that he had “no respect for the people”, “lacked integrity”, and risked undermining the trust of the public. Pete Broadbent, the bishop of Willesden, tweeted: “Johnson has now gone the full Trump.”

Yahoo News UK reports:

Monday’s newspapers made uncomfortable reading for Downing Street, with even the usually loyal Daily Mail going on the offensive. Its front page asked of Johnson and Cummings: “What planet are they on?” The paper said this was the question being asked by Britons of the “No 10 svengali who flouted the PM’s own strict lockdown rules”, and the prime minister who “brazenly” supported him.

In a front-page editorial, the Mail demanded Cummings should resign or Johnson should sack him after it said the adviser violated “the spirit and the letter” of the lockdown, which “has given every selfish person a licence to play fast and loose with public health”.  The editorial reads: “Boris Johnson says he ‘totally gets’ how the public feel about this. Clearly, he doesn’t.”