Several Tory MPs have called for Dominic Cummings to resign over his alleged breach of the coronavirus lockdown rules, despite the prime minister defending his adviser.
A total of seven Conservative politicians slammed Cummings for his actions on Sunday morning as Boris Johnson faced mounting pressure to sack him.
Steve Baker, who worked with Cummings on the Vote Leave campaign, penned an article in The Critic on Sunday in which he said Cummings had “clearly broken” the guidance with trips to see his family in County Durham.
In the article, entitled “Boris: take back control”, Baker said three changes are “immediately required” to improve the government’s coronavirus response.
Baker argued the government should seek out “competitive expert advice”, improve its software engineering standards and sack Cummings.
Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt. The government would be better without him.— Damian Collins (@DamianCollins) May 24, 2020
With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the Government’s reputation he must consider his position. Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It’s his cavalier “I don’t care; I’m cleverer than you” tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don’t like that— Simon Hoare MP (@Simon4NDorset) May 24, 2020
While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child. There cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else. He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable.— Sir Roger Gale MP (@SirRogerGale) May 24, 2020
“Enough is enough,” Baker wrote. “I and others saved him once before when he was driving Vote Leave to implosion.
“Not today. Dominic Cummings must go before he does any more harm to the UK, the government, the prime minister, our institutions or the Conservative Party.
“Time is up. It is time for Dom to resign so Boris can govern within the conventions and norms which will see us through.”
Fellow Tory MP Simon Hoare also urged Cummings to “consider his position” in a post on social media on Sunday morning.
“With the damage Mr Cummings is doing to the government’s reputation he must consider his position,” he tweeted.
“Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. It’s his cavalier ‘I don’t care; I’m cleverer than you’ tone that infuriates people. He is now wounding the PM/Govt & I don’t like that.”
Damian Collins, another Conservative MP, also tweeted: “Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.
“The government would be better without him.”
And Sir Roger Gale, the Tory MP for North Thanet, said: “While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child.
“There cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else. He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable.”
It comes after the prime minister pledged his "full support" on Saturday to his under-fire chief adviser, who it emerged had travelled 260 miles to the north-east in March to self-isolate with his family while official guidelines warned against long-distance journeys.
According to The Sunday Times, the Conservative leader told allies he would not throw Cummings "to the dogs" following reports he made the journey to ensure his four-year-old child could be looked after as he and his wife were ill.
Allegations of a second trip to the north-east have also since emerged in the Sunday newspapers.
Downing Street has said it would "not waste time" replying to the fresh allegations from "campaigning newspapers".
In a statement on Saturday morning, Number 10 said Cummings had travelled to be close to family to seek help looking after his four-year-old child after his wife became ill with coronavirus symptoms - a virus which has seen more than 45,000 people in the UK die after contracting it, according to the latest available data.
Speaking at the press conference, transport secretary Grant Shapps added that Cummings had "stayed put for 14 days" while residing at a family property, having pre-empted his own illness once his wife showed Covid-19 symptoms.
Shapps said the latest allegations railed against Cummings were “completely untrue” in an appearance on Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme.
"I think there are more stories today that I'm seeing that he travelled backwards and forwards, accusations he then went back up to Durham again further times - I understand it is completely untrue.
"There are all kinds of things that are being said here that are completely untrue.
"The basic story is actually pretty straightforward. Husband and wife were ill, they hunker down, they look after their four-year-old and they don't move until they are better.
"And coming back down to London afterwards, they would have been travelling for essential work which is always allowed as well."
Labour has, along with the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, written to cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill demanding an inquiry into what happened.
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