‘I KNOW that the British people hate the idea of unfairness. People like me who make the rules should be accountable for their actions,’ Dominic Cummings, special advisor to PM Boris Johnson said at a press conference in the garden of 10 Downing Street yesterday afternoon.
However he refused to quit despite furious anger from MPs of all parties.
Cummings is facing an increasing chorus of people demanding he resign after he travelled 260 miles during the lockdown.
But he brazenly insisted: ‘I never offered to resign and I have never considered I should resign.’
Twenty Tory MPs are calling for him to go or be sacked, while others have joined Labour in calling for an inquiry.
Johnson has defended Cummings, saying he believed his senior aide had ‘no alternative’ but to make the journey from London at the end of March for childcare ‘when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus’.
Cummings travelled with his family to be near relatives when his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms.
Under lockdown rules, which are still in force, anyone developing symptoms has been instructed to stay in their home.
Cummings told the media: ‘Yesterday I gave a full account of my actions between 27 March and 14 April and now I will share that account with you.’
He said: ‘My wife fell badly ill, she was vomiting, I immediately left Downing Street, she was ill, she might have Covid.
‘I thought there was a distinct possibility that I had already caught the disease.
‘If my wife and I had caught the disease and were possibly hospitalised there would be no one to look after my young son.
‘Risks to the health of a small child are an exception in the legislation. So I drove everyone up to Durham.
‘I left for my family farm, so that my family could look after my son if we couldn’t.’
During his account he admitted that he has never been tested for coronavirus.
He was asked by the media: ‘What do you say to accusations by your own scientific advisors that by introducing an element of personal discretion in the rules, you are putting lives at risk?’
Cummings replied: ‘They are right to be worried, the coverage over the last couple days could have encouraged people to break the rules but with great respect to them they made those comments without knowing what had happened.’
Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) who has been advising the government, said: ‘The real issue here is that because of these actions, because of undermining trust in the government, because of undermining adherence to the rules that we all need to follow, people are going to die. More people are going to die.’
GMB Acting General Secretary John Phillips said: ‘It can’t be one rule for them, another for us. We’ve got members on the frontline who haven’t seen their families, people who have missed saying goodbye to loved ones.
‘Appalling behaviour. Cummings cannot remain in post if people are to have confidence in the government’s coronavirus advice.’