By Agence France-Presse
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday faced a mounting internal rebellion, including a ministerial resignation, over a scandal around his top aide Dominic Cummings taking a cross-country trip during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dozens of Conservative lawmakers have now demanded the controversial adviser quit or be sacked while Douglas Ross, a minister for Scotland, resigned in protest, as a political crisis that has dominated the headlines for days continued unabated.
“I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government,” Ross said in a statement.
“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior advisor to the government was right.”
AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
There has been widespread outrage at Cummings’ alleged lockdown breach, such as the graffiti in north London
The government said it regretted his decision, but the resignation piled more pressure on it and Cummings.
He held a press conference Monday to justify driving his wife and young son on a 264-mile (425-kilometre) trip from London to Durham in northeast England in late March during the height of the coronavirus crisis.
Earlier that week Johnson had introduced a stringent lockdown requiring people to stay at home — barring exceptional circumstances — or face fines.
Cummings, who had virus symptoms around the time of the trip while his wife was also suffering from COVID-19, has claimed he complied with the guidance because childcare needs were one such exception.
The Brexit campaign mastermind, a divisive figure within British politics, said he wanted to leave his four-year-old son at his parents’ house in case both he and his wife became incapacitated.