The tweet was shared by around 25,000 users and liked by almost 40,000 before being deleted nine minutes later, but not before plenty of users had managed to screenshot the image.
Shortly after a government spokesman confirmed that the message had not been permitted, and that an investigation had been launched, Rowling – fearing the responsible person would be fired – tweeted: “When you find out who it was, let us know. I want to give them a year’s salary.”
Johnson started his daily press briefing by immediately supporting his special adviser despite increasing pressure to sack him. He stated that Cummings’ actions were “reasonable and legal”.
Rowling was not the only celebrity who responded to the unsanctioned tweet, which was read out twice on BBC News after it had been taken down.
Gary Lineker tweeted: “An unauthorised journey was taken by a government adviser. The advisor will not be removed and we are not investigating the matter.”
The full statement from Downing Street read: "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.
“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. His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.”