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World Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip

00:31  24 may  2020
00:31  24 may  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

UK's Johnson tries to stop health experts from commenting on aide Cummings

  UK's Johnson tries to stop health experts from commenting on aide Cummings British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to stop his top medical and scientific advisors from answering reporters' questions about the behaviour of chief political advisor Dominic Cummings, saying they should not be involved in politics. © Reuters/PIPPA FOWLES/10 DOWNING ST FILE PHOTO: Daily COVID-19 news conference in London Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, and Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific advisor, were repeatedly asked during a government news conference if a trip by Cummings from London to northern England set a bad example to the general public.

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a torrent of calls on Saturday to dismiss his most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, after reports that Mr. Cummings had visited relatives in northern England while he was ill with the coronavirus — a violation of Britain’ s lockdown rules.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ’ s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, insisted Saturday that he behaved “reasonably and legally” when he Cummings, 48, is one of several senior U.K. officials who have been accused of flouting the lockdown rules that they advocated for the rest of the country.

LONDON —British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under pressure Saturday to dismiss his top aide, the strategist and sloganeer Dominic Cummings, who may have violated strict quarantine rules by taking a 260-mile family road trip while he and his wife were infected with the coronavirus.

a man sitting in a car: Boris Johnson's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife Mary Wakefield leaving his home on May 23, 2020 in London. © Hollie Adams/Getty Images Boris Johnson's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife Mary Wakefield leaving his home on May 23, 2020 in London.

Cummings was the messaging mastermind behind Johnson’s successful 2016 Brexit campaign who coined the phrase “take back control.” Later he was the brains behind Johnson’s landslide victory in the December general election, winning with another Cummings coining, the promise to “get Brexit done.”

Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip

  Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip Critics in Britain say one set of rules is for the elite and the rest are for everyone else.Cummings was the messaging mastermind behind Johnson’s successful 2016 Brexit campaign who coined the phrase “take back control.” Later he was the brains behind Johnson’s landslide victory in the December general election, winning with another Cummings coining, the promise to “get Brexit done.

Boris Johnson ' s chief adviser travelled more than 260 miles from his London home to stay with his parents in Durham so his sister could look after his child while he had coronavirus When asked by reporters if his trip to Durham during lockdown 'looked good', he added: “Who cares about good looks?

Boris Johnson ’ s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, traveled more than 250 miles to his parents’ house during a nationwide lockdown. LONDON (AP) — The British government faced accusations of hypocrisy on Saturday after the revelation that Prime Minister Boris Johnson ’ s top adviser

Now Cummings is on the griddle after the Guardian and Mirror newspapers revealed Friday that the special adviser traveled from London to his parents’ farm in Durham in northern England in late March — just as Johnson began his difficult bout with covid-19. 

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At the time, a strict lockdown was in place and top government ministers were hammering away at the public with the punchy message to keep the National Health Service from being overwhelmed: “Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.”

Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip

  Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip Critics in Britain say one set of rules is for the elite and the rest are for everyone else.Cummings was the messaging mastermind behind Johnson’s successful 2016 Brexit campaign who coined the phrase “take back control.” Later he was the brains behind Johnson’s landslide victory in the December general election, winning with another Cummings coining, the promise to “get Brexit done.

© ASSOCIATED PRESS Dominic Cummings, special adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks along Whitehall in London. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali) Lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government as the Prime Minister faces pressure to sack his closest aide following reports he

Boris Johnson is under pressure to sack his chief aide after it was reported he and his wife breached the UK’ s lockdown by traveling across England to stay with his parents, while showing And a top infectious disease expert said it' s "conceivable" the US could have a coronavirus vaccine by December.

Instead, Cummings, his wife, Mary Wakefield, an editor at the conservative magazine the Spectator, and their young son fled from the capital city to the countryside, even as the government was begging citizens not to travel to second homes, to stay indoors and, for those with symptoms, to follow strict quarantine measures to control the contagion.

Cummings has the British prime minister’s “full support,” said Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, at a raucous news conference. Shapps said that Johnson knew that Cummings was unwell and was staying in one place, but he didn’t say whether Johnson was aware that his top aide had driven across the country.

Cummings’s apparent flouting of the rules has sparked an angry cry for his head from opposition politicians and ordinary citizens who say that government officials are hypocrites who tell the public to do one thing while they do another.

Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip

  Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip Critics in Britain say one set of rules is for the elite and the rest are for everyone else.Cummings was the messaging mastermind behind Johnson’s successful 2016 Brexit campaign who coined the phrase “take back control.” Later he was the brains behind Johnson’s landslide victory in the December general election, winning with another Cummings coining, the promise to “get Brexit done.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing criticism after media reports revealed that his chief On Saturday, a spokesperson for Johnson responded to the reports, insisting that Cummings had not broken lockdown guidelines. Coronavirus: How to avoid conflicts in quarantine | #InThisTogether.

Boris Johnson ’ s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, traveled more than 250 miles to his parents’ house during a nationwide lockdown. LONDON -- The British government faced accusations of hypocrisy on Saturday after the revelation that Prime Minister Boris Johnson ’ s top adviser, Dominic

a person standing in front of a building: Number 10 Downing Street special adviser Dominic Cummings gestures to members of the media to observe social distancing guidelines while he holds a child's bicycle and a ball outside his home in London on May 23, 2020. © Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images Number 10 Downing Street special adviser Dominic Cummings gestures to members of the media to observe social distancing guidelines while he holds a child's bicycle and a ball outside his home in London on May 23, 2020.

Many in Britain have not seen their friends and relatives since the lockdown was announced March 23 — missing births, graduations, weddings and funerals. Sunbathers have been fined by police. Residents out in the countryside have warned “corona-idiots” from the cities to stay away.

Opposition lawmakers said that if Cummings broke the guidelines, then he needs to go.

“It is as simple as that,” said Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Cummings is a larger-than-life maverick in British politics. His leading role in the 2016 Brexit campaign was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the HBO film “Brexit: The Uncivil War.” With his bald dome and his casual hoodies, the 48-year-old political fixer is better known than most of Johnson’s tailored ministers. He also wears a target on his back.

Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip

  Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip Critics in Britain say one set of rules is for the elite and the rest are for everyone else.Cummings was the messaging mastermind behind Johnson’s successful 2016 Brexit campaign who coined the phrase “take back control.” Later he was the brains behind Johnson’s landslide victory in the December general election, winning with another Cummings coining, the promise to “get Brexit done.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ’ s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, has insisted he behaved “reasonably and legally” when he traveled more than 250 miles (400 kms) to Johnson ' s office said in a statement that Cummings made the trip because his wife was showing coronavirus symptoms, he

Mirror Politics. 4 hrs ·. EXCLUSIVE Boris Johnson ' s top aide was spotted at his parents' home in Durham - more than 250 miles away from his home in London - five days after Number 10 say he started self-isolating.

In late March, Cummings was filmed rushing out of Downing Street, shortly after Johnson tested positive for coronavirus.

After 10 days of self-isolation at the official residence, the prime minister was so sick he was taken to the hospital and then to its intensive care unit, where he was given supplemental oxygen. Upon his release, Johnson said he was lucky to be alive.

Downing Street issued a statement on Saturday that Cummings did nothing wrong.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: Johnson and Cummings exit 10 Downing Street in central London. © Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images Johnson and Cummings exit 10 Downing Street in central London.

“Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for,” the statement said. “His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house, near to but separate, from his extended family in case their help was needed.”

That would be the farm in Durham. “His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines,” the statement read. “Mr. Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”

Asked by reporters camped outside his London home on Saturday if it looked good for a senior government adviser to ride out his symptoms far from home, Cummings replied: “Who cares about good looks? It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”

Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip

  Boris Johnson’s top aide accused of violating quarantine with 260-mile road trip Critics in Britain say one set of rules is for the elite and the rest are for everyone else.Cummings was the messaging mastermind behind Johnson’s successful 2016 Brexit campaign who coined the phrase “take back control.” Later he was the brains behind Johnson’s landslide victory in the December general election, winning with another Cummings coining, the promise to “get Brexit done.

Officials around the world have been caught flouting the same lockdown rules they helped put in place. Britain is no exception.

Earlier this month, Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist whose work has been pivotal in the British government’s response to the outbreak, quit his government advisory role after he was found to have breached lockdown rules to meet his married lover. Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, also resigned from her post after she made two trips to her second home.

Fleet Street was poring over an article that Cummings’s wife published in the Spectator.

She wrote: “My husband did rush home to look after me. He’s an extremely kind man, whatever people assume to the contrary. But 24 hours later, he said, ‘I feel weird,’ and collapsed. I felt breathless, sometimes achy, but Dom couldn’t get out of bed. Day in, day out for 10 days he lay doggo with a high fever and spasms that made the muscles lump and twitch in his legs. He could breathe, but only in a limited, shallow way.”

“We emerged from quarantine into the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown,” she wrote, leading readers to assume the family had been isolated in the city, not the countryside.

Officials rallied around Cummings. Michael Gove, a senior member in the Conservative government, wrote, “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who himself was stricken by the virus, tweeted: “I know how ill coronavirus makes you. It was entirely right for Dom Cummings to find child care for his toddler, when both he and his wife were getting ill.”

Critics said it was hypocritical for those in the government to push rules they themselves don’t obey.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, reflecting the thoughts of many, wrote on social media: “One of the architects of the rules keeping those people housebound drove across the UK, knowing he had the virus. Indefensible hypocrisy and selfishness.”

A Durham resident who lives near the Cummings family home agreed, telling the Guardian: “It’s one rule for Dominic Cummings and one rule for the rest of us.”

Controversy over Councilor Cummings: resignation of a member of the British government .
© AFP - Tolga AKMEN Controversy over Councilor Cummings: resignation of a member of the British government A member of the British government resigned on Tuesday, in disagreement with the justifications provided by Premier Boris Johnson's adviser, Dominic Cummings, accused of breaching containment.

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