The saga that engulfs Downing Street dominates the front pages of newspapers in the United Kingdom, while anger grows over the news that Boris Johnson’s main aide has ignored the blocking rules for making multiple trips to England.
The government spent Saturday beating the first round of stories about Dominic Cummings, after it emerged that he went from London to Durham while his wife was suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.
Ministers said Cummings, who is often depicted as the mastermind behind the Brexit campaign and Boris Johnson’s premiere, had simply traveled to his parents’ home for assistance in childcare – despite the fact that the trip was clearly contrary driving that people don’t travel to see family members and self-isolated in one place if they have symptoms.
But much of that defense seemed to have been built on the idea that Cummings had only made one trip. The observer and the Daily Mirror reported Saturday evening, however, that witnesses had seen Cummings near Durham again on multiple dates in April, after he recovered from his Covid-19 symptoms.
Both documents, which worked together on the story, brought their Sunday editions with new claims and calls for Johnson to fire Cummings.
Downing Street said in a fiery response to the latest stories that “it will not waste time answering a series of false accusations about Mr Cummings from the electoral newspapers” – a notable attack on two national newspapers that suggests that they are not backing down support worker.
But requests for him to quit became stronger only on Sunday, when conservative MPs started breaking up with the party line and demanding that Cummings go. Influential backbencher Steve Baker has said it is “intolerable” that Johnson’s government is giving up so much political capital to save Cummings’ work.
Simon Hoare added on Twitter: “The blockade had its challenges for everyone. It’s his knight “I don’t care; I’m smarter than you” tone that infuriates people. Now he’s hurting the PM / Govt and I don’t like him. “
Cummings’ anti-establishment message, his rude and ready behavior and his ruthless reputation have made him a controversial figure at best.
But it is the way the government is defending him – and the potential that are seriously undermining his blocking measures to save his job – that has angered critics.
“What worries me most is that some of the government’s top politicians spent the weekend undermining public health laws and messages designed to protect the public in the pandemic. All to defend their friend. That’s what matters.” , the shadow of Labor Secretary David Lammy said Sunday.
And the government is also feeling the warmth from the papers traditionally in solidarity with Boris Johnson.
The Telegraph, which includes the Prime Minister among its former columnists, evoked the second claims, which were revealed just in time on Saturday night to provoke a new wave of questions on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday devoted several cover pages to the scandal, while the Sunday Times led Johnson’s defense of his aide, but noted that “voters are asking for Cummings’ resignation” in his aid.
Johnson kept silent personally over the weekend, without giving interviews and making no public statements about Cummings. But it is increasingly evident that this political line has become a defining moment in the UK’s coronavirus response.
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