Piers Morgan brands Boris Johnson a 'disgrace'
‘How much has Cummings got on you?’ Piers Morgan brands Boris Johnson a ‘disgrace’ after he backs his top aide amid lockdown breach claims
- Piers Morgan criticised the PM after he failed to take action against his top aide
- Boris Johnson said Dominic Cummings acted ‘with integrity’ amid furious row
- Adviser is accused of travelling 260 miles to Durham twice during lockdown
Piers Morgan has branded Boris Johnson a ‘disgrace’ after he backed his key adviser Dominic Cummings amid rising fury over multiple alleged lockdown breaches.
The Prime Minister tonight said Mr Cummings had ‘no alternative’ but to travel 260 miles from London to County Durham when both he and his wife Mary Wakefield were ‘about to be incapacitated by coronavirus.’
His comments came amid a furious row over the aide’s travel during the pandemic, with several Tory backbenchers calling on him to resign after allegations of a second trip north emerged this morning.
Taking to Twitter following Mr Johnson’s news conference, Piers Morgan shared a photograph of the funeral of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, whose family were unable to attend the service after he passed away due to Covid-19 in March.
Piers Morgan has branded Boris Johnson (pictured today) a ‘disgrace’ after he backed his key adviser Dominic Cummings amid rising fury over multiple alleged lockdown breaches
Taking to Twitter, the Good Morning Britain presenter also dubbed the aide a ‘hypocrite’
‘This poor boy’s family stayed away from his deathbed and funeral because they obeyed the [Government] rules,’ the Good Morning Britain presenter said.
‘Imagine how that family is feeling now, knowing that all they had to do was follow their “instinct”, not the rules? You’re a disgrace @BorisJohnson. RIP Ismail.’
He later dubbed Mr Cummings a ‘hypocrite’, after asking why it appeared there is ‘one rule for these clowns and another for the rest of us.’
‘What does this lying hypocrite know that means you’re prepared to risk the public’s health, and lives, to stop him blabbing? Genuinely curious,’ he said.
Taking the daily Downing Street news conference as a late replacement for Housing Minister Robert Jenrick tonight, Mr Johnson refused to bow to public and political pressure to sack his top aide.
The prime minister said he had ‘extensive face-to-face’ talks with Mr Cummings today, claiming his close associate had ‘acted responsibly, legally and with integrity’.
Morgan then asked why it is ‘one rule for these clowns and another for the rest of us’
Mr Cummings (pictured today in London) has been accused of repeatedly travelling 260 miles from London to Durham (above) to see his parents, while the public were told to stay at home
‘I think he followed the instincts of any father and any parent, and I don’t mark him down for that,’ he said.
He added that ‘some’ of the allegations about Mr Cummings’ behaviour during self-isolation were ‘palpably false’ but did not elaborate.
He also declined to answer whether his chief of staff, as reported, drove to the picturesque village of Barnard’s castle when such outdoor excursions were banned for the public.
It came as Britain announced a further 118 coronavirus deaths this afternoon, a 30 per cent drop since last Sunday’s 170, taking the total to 36,793.
On Saturday, the Government said Mr Cummings had acted ‘reasonably and legally’ in response to claims he had driven 260 miles from London to Durham with his wife amid the nationwide lockdown.
Nine Conservative backbenchers then demanded his head after allegations of a second trip north, in April, emerged in today’s Sunday Mirror and Observer newspapers.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘This was a test of the Prime Minister and he has failed it.
On Saturday, the Government said Mr Cummings had acted ‘reasonably and legally’ in response to claims he had driven 260 miles from London to Durham with his wife
Mr Cummings’ wife Mary Wakefield (pictured outside their home today) had coronavirus symptoms when they travelled north
‘It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings. The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the Prime Minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.
‘The Prime Minister’s actions have undermined confidence in his own public health message at this crucial time.
‘Millions were watching for answers and they got nothing. That’s why the Cabinet Secretary must now launch an urgent inquiry.’
Lib Dem leader Ed Davy said Mr Johnson’s response ‘confirms there is one rule for us and another for him and his friends’.
‘Millions of people who’ve made huge sacrifices to keep to the rules will be astonished and angry at how the Prime Minister is now bending the rules for his closest aide,’ he said.
‘By failing to act, the Prime Minister undermines his own authority to lead the country through this appalling crisis, bringing his own judgement into question.’
And there was criticism growing from the Tory benches, with Sir Roger Gale saying: ‘I’m very disappointed, I think it was an opportunity to put this to bed and I fear that now the story is simply going to run and run.’
And David Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, tweeted: ‘As much as I despise any baying pitchfork-led trials by social media, I’m unconvinced by the PM’s defence of Cummings. We’ve all been tasked with tempering our parental, and other, instincts by strictly adhering to Govt guidance.’
Boris Johnson’s statement on Dominic Cummings in full
I want to begin by answering the big question that people have been asking in the last 48 hours. And that is – is this Government asking you – the people, the public, to do one thing while senior people here in government do something else?
Have we been asking you to make sacrifices, to obey social distancing, to stay at home while some people have been basically flouting those rules and endangering lives?
And it is because I take this matter so seriously and frankly it is so serious that I can tell you today I have had extensive face to face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus.
And when he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent. And I do not mark him down for that.
And though there have been many other allegations about what happened when he was in self-isolation and thereafter, some of them palpably false.
I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity, and with the overwhelming aim of stopping the spread of the virus and saving lives.
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