Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top aide, drove with his wife and child to Durham, ignoring advice to self isolate while symptomatic with COVID-19, It was revealed this weekend. A joint investigation between the Daily Mirror and the Guardian found he and his wife Mary Wakefield drove to his parents’ property in Durham with their young child after the lockdown had officially come into place. They reportedly stayed on a separate house on the property and did not come into contact with his parents, although the facts of the case are disputed.
What time is Cummings speaking?
Express.co.uk contacted Downing Street to find out what time the statement would be, but a spokesman could not confirm.
Laura Kuenssberg tweeted earlier: “Dominic Cummings is expected to give a public statement and take questions later himself, as calls for him to quit and explain himself mount.”
Today’s Daily Briefing is expected at 4pm, so it may be that Cummings joins the podium briefly today.
You can watch all the action live at SKy News and BBC News this afternoon.
Express.co.uk will update this story when more information is available.
Dominic Cummings: The top aide is due to speak this afternoon
Dominic Cummings: The aide has faced calls to resign
Boris Johnson took to the stand at last night’s press conference to defend his closest aide and friend in what has become a major political scandal for the Tory Government.
Mr Johnson said: “I can tell you today I have had extensive face to face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus.
“And when he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent. And I do not mark him down for that.
“And though there have been many other allegations about what happened when he was in self-isolation and thereafter, some of them palpably false.”
The conference was also marred by technical difficulties, with some journalists unable to put their questions to the Prime Minister.
The statement comes after an outpouring of anger from critics and Tory backbenchers.
Dominic Cummings: The trip was unveiled by a joint investigation at the Mirror and the Guardian
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings”.
He said the PM’s actions have “undermined confidence in his own public health message at this crucial time”.
Nicola Sturgeon added “many” people would have been left “angry and frustrated by stories you have heard”.
In a furious statement, the First Minister told Scots: “As far as I am concerned the restrictions and rules we put in place really matter.
“It is vital that all of us stick to the rules, and not just because people like me tell you to or ask you to.
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“The reason we ask you to stick to these rules is because they help to protect you and your loved ones, they help us protect our National Health Service and they do help us to save lives.”
At least 15 Conservative backbenchers have called for Mr Cummings to go, while several others have spoken out against his actions.
Bob Stewart, Conservative MP for Beckenham, said he believed Mr Cummings’ position was “untenable and he should not keep his job”.
In a Facebook message to constituents, Mr Stewart said: “The truth is that, whether Mr Cummings broke or didn’t do the right thing, he certainly destroyed the spirit of the rules by what he did.
“It will make it very difficult for us, the rest of the population, to accept the largely voluntary restraints we have lived under for 9 weeks.
“I apologise for that because those rules remain in place and we should all still abide by them.”
Dominic Cummings: The aide was caught by reporters yesterday
Tory grandee Lord Heseltine said it was “very difficult to believe there isn’t a substance” in the allegations about Mr Cummings’ movements.
“I think these unanswered questions are now on the agenda,” he told the BBC, “and I don’t think that this anxiety about the Government’s position will end until we know the whole story.”
Boris Johnson also came under fire for his response to Mr Cummings actions, as he defended his top aide and friend last night.
Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke tweeted: “Rising numbers of #COVID19 patients have just forced overwhelmed Weston A&E to close.
“This is precisely why Cummings’ rule-breaking and @BorisJohnson’s endorsement of it are so utterly, inexcusably wrong.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Let’s be absolutely straight! #BorisJohnson has BETRAYED every one of us!”
A third posted: “When @BorisJohnson took to the podium last night & made his defence of Dominic Cummings, I actually shouted “Oh f**k off!” at the television.
“I wonder how many others did the same? Labour voters, Conservatives, Brexiters, Remainers, all united in disgust. That’s his problem.”