Cri­sis in UK: Boris draws flak, his aide re­fuses to re­sign

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HT SPOTLIGHT - Pra­sun Son­walkar pra­sun.son­walkar@hin­dus­tan­ n

LONDON: Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son faced a groundswel­l of crit­i­cism on Mon­day from MPs, bish­ops, sci­en­tists and hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple for de­fend­ing his aide Do­minic Cum­mings over a vi­o­la­tion of lock­down rules re­cently, even as the lat­ter in­sisted he has “no re­grets” for his ac­tions.

The UK’s re­sponse to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic re­mained over­shad­owed by the story per­ceived by many as one rule for those in power and an­other for the peo­ple. PM John­son con­tin­ued to re­sist de­mands from many of his own party MPs and oth­ers to sack Cum­mings.

Cum­mings, who has been close to John­son since the suc­cess­ful ‘Vote Leave’ cam­paign in the 2016 EU ref­er­en­dum, had trav­elled to Durham in north­east Eng­land with his fam­ily when the of­fi­cial ad­vice fol­lowed by Bri­tons was to stay home.

The PM’s chief ad­viser went on tele­vi­sion on Mon­day af­ter­noon to present his ver­sion of events, al­leg­ing that much of the news re­port­ing was wrong and was to blame for the anger among peo­ple over his move­ments in March end un­til April 14. He hasn’t of­fered to re­sign, nor has he con­sid­ered it.

Sev­eral bish­ops said John­son’s de­fence of Cum­mings 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.”

As police chiefs in the UK said it would now be dif­fi­cult to en­force coro­n­avirus-re­lated curbs, at least three se­nior ex­perts on the Sci­en­tific Ad­vi­sory Group for Emer­gen­cies in­flu­enc­ing govern­ment moves on the pan­demic de­plored Prime Min­is­ter John­son’s re­marks: Stephen Re­icher, Robert West and Su­san Michie.


Spe­cial ad­viser Do­minic Cum­mings out­side his home in London.

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