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