Furious Conservative MPs today demanded the help of Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, for breaking the lock on the coronavirus journey, as the first cracks in party unity emerged.
Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister and a die-hard Brexiteer like Mr. Cummings, broke the cover to demand the advisor’s dismissal, demanding that the Prime Minister “regain control” of the wiggling events within his reach.
Prime Minister mounted a steadfast defense of his controversial lieutenant on revelations that he traveled 270 miles from London to Durham while the public was invited to stay at home, telling the allies, “It is not as if he were visiting a lover. “
And the main ministers gathered around the Machiavellian figure, insisting that he was acting as a concerned parent and did not break any rules.
But just when the Prime Minister decided to stand by his right arm, the Downing Street adviser was shaken by new allegations of violating the strict national guidelines of two other witnesses, which sparked another frenzy to get him fired.
Baker told Sky News that Cummings’ career had always “caused enormous collateral damage”, including the Brexit campaign, adding: “He is not always right and certainly is not essential “
“If he does not resign, we will continue to burn in Boris’ political capital at a pace that we cannot afford in the midst of this crisis,” he said.
“It is very clear that Dominic traveled when everyone understood that Dominic’s slogans meant” stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives “.
“And I think moms and dads who care so much about their kids and who have given up custody of their extended family will wonder why he was allowed to do it.”
“I really do not see, as we approach the Prime Minister (appear) on the Liaison Committee on Wednesday, how it will go unless Dominic leaves. “
He also tweeted for Cummings to go, with his message retweeted by Hazel Grove MP William Wragg and another Brexiteer, Sir Peter Bone, told LBC that the advisor should resign.
Simon Hoare, MP Tory North Dorset and Chairman of the Select Committee for Northern Ireland then added his voice to the call, tweeting: “With the damage that Mr. Cummings is doing to the reputation of the government, he must take into account his position.
“Lockdown has had its challenges for everyone. He’s his rider. “I do not care; I’m smarter than you, ”which makes people mad. He’s hurting PM / Govt now and I don’t like it.
Damian Collins, former chairman of the culture committee, also made public this morning, tweeting, “Dominic Cummings has a reputation for believing that the rules don’t apply to him and for dealing with the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt. The government would be better off without it.
And Sir Roger Gale, the Member of Parliament for North Thanet, said: “Although as a father and grandfather I fully appreciate Mr. Cummings’ desire to protect his child, there can be no law for it. Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone. He sent the wrong message completely and his position is no longer tenable.
Meanwhile, former immigration minister Caroline Nokes tweeted, “I made my point clear to my whip yesterday.
“There cannot be a rule for most of us and room for maneuver for others. My inbox is full of very angry constituents and I don’t hold it against them. They have made difficult sacrifices in recent weeks. “
But Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps tried to defend Mr. Cummings, telling Ridge that he was “trying to do his best” for his four-year-old son. He then admitted to BBC Andrew Marr that he had not spoken to Mr. Cummings before he was sent to defend him on television.
Asked directly about Mr. Cummings’ resignation, Mr. Shapps replied, “No”.
Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister and a die-hard Brexiteer like Mr. Cummings, broke the cover to demand the advisor’s dismissal, demanding that the Prime Minister “regain control” of the wiggling events within his reach.
Simon Hoare, MP Tory North Dorset and Chairman of the Select Committee for Northern Ireland then added his voice to the call, tweeting: “With the damage that Mr. Cummings is doing to the reputation of the government, he must take into account his position
But Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps tried to defend Mr. Cummings, telling Ridge that he was “trying to do his best” for his four-year-old son.
Conservative MPs ask Dominic Cummings to resign
It was the Conservative backbenchers who asked Dominic Cummings to resign or who approved the calls of other members:
- Steve Baker
- Simon Hoare
- Damian collins
- Roger Gale
- Peter Bone
- William Wragg
- Caroline Nokes
- Craig Whittaker
He said at the Sophy Ridge show, “I don’t have all the times and dates for you, but I understand that he will have traveled up there in late March and stayed there, stayed there for 14 days, did not leave the property and isolation, in accordance with the rules and directives. “
Shapps said the latest allegations that Cummings returned to Durham on a second trip and were spotted on April 19 were false.
“I think there are more stories today than I see that he traveled back and forth, accusations that he then brought up to Durham again – I understand it’s completely false.
“When he returned to London on April 14, I see, he has stayed in London ever since and hasn’t returned to Durham.
“There are all kinds of things that are said here that are completely untrue.
“The basic story is actually quite simple. The husband and wife were sick, they crouch, take care of their four-year-old child, and they don’t move until they are better.
“And returning to London afterwards, they would have traveled for essential work which is still allowed too.”
Labor asked Johnson to take today’s coronavirus press conference to “answer questions about what happened, what he knew and what he was going to do about it “
Shadow Secretary of State Nick Thomas-Symonds told Marr, “What we are asking for, for two things: first, that there is an urgent investigation by the Cabinet Office, and second, that the Prime Minister today takes the press conference, the daily press conference, himself to provide answers, because this is an extremely serious situation.
Cummings Lock Row Timeline
March 23: As the coronavirus crisis escalates, the UK is locked in with strict travel restrictions.
Government directives state: “You should not visit family members who do not live with you”.
Household members with symptoms should “stay at home and not leave home” for up to 14 days.
March 27: Boris Johnson and Secretary of Health Matt Hancock are both positive for the coronavirus, while chief medical officer Chris Whitty says he has symptoms of the disease and self-isolates.
March 30: Downing Street confirms that Mr. Cummings has symptoms of coronavirus and is self-isolating.
March, 31st: Durham police are “informed of reports that a person has traveled from London to Durham and is at an address in the city”.
Police said the police contacted the owners of the address, who confirmed that the person was present and was isolating himself in part of the house.
“In accordance with national policing guidelines, officers have explained to the family the provisions regarding the self-segregation guidelines and have reiterated appropriate advice regarding essential travel.”
April 5: An unnamed neighbor tells the Mirror and the caretaker that Mr. Cummings was seen in his parents’ garden.
“I have had the shock of my life looking towards the doors and seeing it,” they said.
March 30 – April 6: The time when Mr. Cummings’ wife Mary Wakefield described the family’s battle with the coronavirus in the April 25 issue of The Spectator.
She makes no mention of the trip to Durham and describes the challenges of caring for their son while suffering from the symptoms of Covid-19.
She says their grandson nursed Mr. Cummings with Ribena.
April 12: Robert Lees, a retired chemistry professor, says he saw Mr. Cummings 30 miles from his parents’ house at Barnard Castle.
April 14: Cummings returns to work for the first time since the announcement of coronavirus suffering.
Questions are raised about his membership in social distancing boards as he is pictured walking down Down Street with his colleague Cleo Watson.
April 19: A passerby claims to have spotted Mr. Cummings and his family admiring hyacinths with his wife on their return to Durham.
May 22: Latest news in the mirror and Mr. Cummings’ caretaker’s trip to Durham.
May 23: Downing Street stands next to PM’s chief aide, saying in a statement: “Due to his wife’s infection with an alleged coronavirus and the high probability that he will not feel well, he was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure that his young child is properly cared for. for.’
That evening, a joint investigation by Sunday Mirror and Observer reveals the two new eyewitness allegations.
“The British people have made sacrifices, extraordinary sacrifices, to get through this crisis by following the guidelines.
“We know grandparents, for example, who haven’t seen their grandchildren for months, sometimes newborn grandchildren, people who died alone with no families by their side, people who don’t were unable to attend the funeral, and it happened because people followed directions.
The first witness testified that he saw Mr. Cummings on Easter Sunday in a town about 50 kilometers from his parents’ farm in Durham, where he was isolated with his wife and son – although he had previously insisted that he had stayed there all the time.
A second said he saw Mr. Cummings in Durham again on April 19, five days after he returned to work at Westminster – suggesting that he had made a second 264-mile trip to the northeast.
They come after the number 10 leader was called a hypocrite on Friday for ignoring the same lockdown instructions for staying at home that he helped develop.
Revelations from last night in the Observer and the Sunday Mirror poured gasoline in the row engulfing Prime Minister’s aid, which the public firmly believes has broken the restrictions, according to a YouGov poll.
Prior to the emergence of the latest rule-breaking charges, the allies said that Johnson had “thrown a protective ring” around his most senior lieutenant because he had a “convincing file” for his trip which earned him “the benefit of the doubt”.
“Breaking the lock to see your mistress is very different from doing everything to protect your little one,” said one.
The Prime Minister said to his friends, “Dominic acted on advice and just cared for his family. I now consider the case closed.
The Prime Minister also added, “It is not like he is visiting a lover,” suggesting that Mr. Cummings was not ready to face the same fate as Sage scientist Professor Neil Ferguson.
Johnson told his allies that he would not throw Mr. Cummings “to the dogs,” according to the Sunday Times.
However, last night’s claims that the brain of the 48-year-old Vote Leave broke the lockout rules repeatedly are likely to test PM’s support, with an insider from Downing Street calling Mr. Cummings’ behavior “Domnishambles”.
The number 10 furiously denied the information and declared that it “would not waste time responding to a flood of false allegations from newspapers in the countryside”.
But there is a growing rage in the ranks of the Conservatives over Mr. Cummings’ amazing behavior. A cabinet minister told the Sunday Times that he had made them look like “hypocrites” in the face of harsh lockdowns imposed on the British public.
And a counselor channeled Monty’s cult film ‘Python, The Life of Brian, saying,’ He proved he’s not the Messiah, he’s actually a very mean boy ‘.
No10 faced fire on another front after Durham Constabulary last contradicted Downing Street’s statement that police had not told Mr. Cummings’ family about his trip to Durham in late March.
Police released their own statement last night confirming that officers had in fact spoken to Mr. Cummings’ father, Robert, about the matter.
Durham bolt: family property of Mr. Cummings and his family allegedly fled at the height of the coronavirus shutdown
Mr. Cummings (pictured leaving home with his son yesterday) insisted that he had the right to make the trip to his family
Journalists asked reporters this afternoon if his actions looked bad, said Dominic Cummings, a challenge: “who cares about beauty”
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said at the Downing Street briefing that No10 chief had “full support” from Boris Johnson because he was facing a barrage of questions. Mr. Cummings traveled with his wife Mary Wakefield (right photo yesterday)
Boris Johnson put up a staunch defense of his controversial collaborator Dominic Cummings last night, telling his allies, “It’s not like he’s visiting a lover” when he broke the lock rules (September photo)
Survey finds 68% of Britons think Dominic Cummings has broken lockout rules
More than two-thirds of Britons believe Dominic Cummings broke the lock rules by driving to Durham while he was isolated, with more than half thinking he should quit, according to an instant poll found last night.
The survey of 3,707 adults, conducted by YouGov today, found that only 28% think it should stay and 20% on the fence.
Tonight’s YouGov poll also found that Conservative voters were divided on whether to keep his job, with 41% of those responding saying he should resign while 43% want him to stay in office. as senior advisor to Boris Johnson.
Chris Curtis, director of political research at YouGov, said: “These are clearly troubling figures for the government and Mr. Cummings.
“The public already believed that the government was too rushed to lift parts of the foreclosure and it is likely that it will be even less impressed if public figures are seen to have broken rules they believe are not strict enough.
“Of course, the government hopes that everyone will quickly get past a story about a relatively unknown advisor, but it will be difficult when the public thinks they were wrong and should go. “
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said in yesterday’s daily media availability that the 48-year-old adviser stayed there for two weeks after arriving at his parents’ home in March.
But that tale seemed to collapse last night when a witness said he spotted Mr. Cummings in a town 30 miles from his parents’ house.
Robert Lees, a retired chemistry professor, said he saw the non-conformist Brexiteer and his family strolling through Barnard Castle, Teesdale, on April 12.
He told the newspapers, “I was a little stunned to see him because I know what he looks like. And the rest of the family seemed to match – a woman and a child.
“I was pretty sure it was him and it didn’t seem right because I assumed he would be in London. “
Calling for help to resign, he added, “I went home and told my wife that we thought he should be in London. I searched the license plate later in the day and my computer search history shows that.
Cummings received a new blow from a neighbor who saw him again in Durham on April 19, five days after his first photo in issue 10.
The anonymous passer-by said he spotted the PM’s main aide admiring the “beautiful” hyacinths with his wife Mary Wakefield at Houghall Woods, near his parents’ farm.
He suggests that Mr. Cummings returned to the northeast after returning to work at Westminster after recovering from Covid-19.
Earlier, a challenge Mr. Cummings replied “who cares” when reporters asked him if his actions looked bad.
But an insider number 10 jokingly marked his behavior “Domnishambles”, a reference to the derisory term “omnishambles” used first to describe a mess encompassing in BBC political satire The Thick Of It and then in the Commons by Ed Miliband.
The latest allegations prompted the dismissal of Mr. Cummings. SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the advisor “must” be fired.
He tweeted, “It is clear that Boris Johnson must fire Dominic Cummings. When the Prime Minister’s senior adviser ignores government instructions to the public not to make non-essential travel, he must step down. At once.’
He even called on the head of the public service to investigate “the violation of the rules and the cover-up of the Conservative government.”
Lib Dem Acting Chief Sir Ed Davey said, “If Dominic Cummings is allowed to sit still for a while, it will increasingly be the Prime Minister’s judgment that will be in the spotlight.
“Surely, Boris Johnson must now recognize that the actions of his best advisor are an insult to the millions who have made tremendous personal sacrifices to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “
Critics were supported by the weight of public opinion, a YouGov poll showing that 68% of people think Mr. Cummings flouted the rules and more than half (52%) thought he should resign. Only 28% think it should stay at # 10.
A No 10 spokesperson last night said, “Yesterday, the Mirror and Guardian wrote inaccurate stories about Mr. Cummings.
“Today they are writing more inaccurate stories, including claiming that Mr. Cummings returned to Durham after he returned to work at Downing Street on April 14.
“We will not waste our time responding to a flood of false allegations about Mr. Cummings in the newspapers in the field. “
In addition to taking the flak for blocking the charges, Downing Street has been criticized for offering a different version of the Durham Constabulary events.
N ° 10 said on Saturday morning: “At no time was he [Mr Cummings] or his family has spoken of this matter, as reported, “and Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps said the statement was” in black and white “during the daily Downing Street briefing.
But in a statement released on Saturday evening, the force said: “Following a large number of media inquiries over the weekend, Durham Constabulary can add the following details.
“On Tuesday March 31, our officers were informed that Dominic Cummings had traveled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.
“At the request of Mr. Cummings’ father, an officer contacted the next morning by telephone.
“During this conversation, Mr. Cummings’ father confirmed that his son had traveled with his family from London to the northeast and was isolated in part of the property.
“Durham Constabulary felt that no further action was required. However, the officer provided advice on security matters.
Dominic Cummings and his wife Mary Wakefield, who wrote about her husband’s battle with the coronavirus
The Durham property has a series of outbuildings, and Mr. Cummings is believed to have stayed in one with his family.
Mr. Cummings ‘parents’ farm, where he moved with his wife and son when they developed symptoms of coronavirus
Cummings’ ex-brother-in-law comes to his defense
Last night, the ex-brother-in-law of Dominic Cummings defended his defense by insisting that it was “very, very easy” for the Prime Minister’s chief adviser to self-isolate in the homes of his parents in Durham.
Matthew Herriott, a farmer who lives near North Lodge, said the property includes a number of self-contained apartments attached to the main building, which are only accessible through a separate entrance.
This meant that Cummings, his wife Mary Wakefield and their young son could stay on the £ 800,000 sandstone farm without coming into contact with his parents, Morag and Robert.
There are also dependencies on the area where customers are expected to stay from time to time.
In a statement yesterday, Downing Street insisted that Mr. Cummings’ sister shop for the family and leave everything behind.
“North Lodge is undoubtedly large enough to accommodate this number of people,” Herriott told the Mail on Sunday. “It is a building but it is divided into separate apartments, so it is very, very easy for everyone to isolate themselves.
“It has several extensions, if you will, so it’s more than enough to live there and have no contact with anyone. It is also located in one hectare of land, I believe.
Cummings says he traveled to Durham so his parents Robert, 73, and Morag, 71, can take care of his four-year-old son if he and his wife are struck by the virus.
Yesterday, Mr. Cummings eliminated questions from reporters by saying, “This is about doing the right thing. It’s not what you think about it, ”he said.
He also reprimanded the photographers for not respecting the rules of social distancing by staying two meters apart.
His mother also let a reporter slip away. Speaking from the family home via intercom, she said, “I have one thing to say, Dominic’s uncle died on Palm Sunday and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Many ministers also rallied. Michael Gove, the former boss of Mr. Cummings, tweeted, “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Secretary of Health Matt Hancock also offered their support.
But a tweet from Mr. Johnson’s report this afternoon highlighted the problem ministers face in explaining the situation.
“If you have symptoms of #coronavirus, you need to isolate yourself and get tested,” the message said.
Directives of the government of the day said that those who isolate themselves “must stay at home and not leave the house”, as well as “stay away” from vulnerable seniors. In a review of their ordeal published last month, Mr. Cummings’ journalist’s wife, Mary Wakefield, also described how their grandson treated him with Ribena – suggesting that he stayed with them while during. The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson told reporters at the time that Mr. Cummings was isolating “at home”.
Grilled repeatedly over the controversy at tonight’s briefing, Mr. Shapps said, “The important thing is that everyone stays in one place while locked out, which is exactly what happened in the case you are talking about with Mr. Cummings. .
“The Prime Minister will have known he was not moving and he did not leave until he felt better. “
Shapps added, “The advice indicates that if you live with children, continue to follow this advice to the best of your ability.
“However, we are aware that all these measures will not be possible depending on the circumstances. “
Suggesting that the advice was related to individual interpretation, Mr. Shapps said, “It’s up to an individual to make the decision” how can I make sure I have enough support around the family? especially in the case you are talking about with the potential of both parents ending up being sick and having a young child to care for.
“How do you have this support network around them, and the decision here was to go to that place and stay there. So they don’t have to move from there, so it would be up to each individual to find the best way to do it, that’s what happened here.
Mr. Shapps added, “You have to lock yourself out and do it in the best and most practical way – and I think it will be different for different people in all circumstances, their particular family differences, will dictate, c ‘is all that happened in this case.’
As to whether Mr. Johnson was aware of Mr. Cummings’ activities, Mr. Shapps noted that the Prime Minister was himself sick at the time. “I can tell you that the PM is providing Mr. Cummings with his full support and that Mr. Cummings has made a full statement,” he said.
When asked to clarify the advice on moving around during the lockdown, Dr. Jenny Harries said it was “clear” that someone with symptoms should isolate themselves with their family.
Mais elle a dit que toutes les orientations avaient un élément de « bon sens » sur la sauvegarde. Le Dr Harries a déclaré: «Nous ne voulons donc pas qu’une personne âgée soit assise à la maison sans ses médicaments car elle sent qu’elle ne peut pas sortir.
Le Dr Harries a déclaré que s’il y avait un «problème de sauvegarde» où un enfant n’avait «aucun soutien», c’était également un problème.
« Il y a toujours une clause de sauvegarde dans tous les conseils », a-t-elle déclaré, ajoutant: « L’interprétation de ces conseils est probablement pour les autres ».
Des sources proches de M. Cummings disent qu’il n’y a « aucune chance » qu’il arrête.
La police du Dorset et commissaire à la criminalité, Martyn Underhill, a averti que la brèche serait jetée au visage des agents alors qu’ils tentaient de restreindre les visiteurs en quête de soleil sur ce qui devrait être un week-end férié chaud.
M. Underhill a déclaré que la fureur serait inévitablement citée par les gens qui affluent vers les sites de beauté et les plages du Dorset ce week-end.
« Il est malheureux que cela se produise, car ce sera le week-end le plus chargé que Dorset ait vu cette année », a-t-il déclaré.
La police de West Midlands et le commissaire à la criminalité ont pris la parole pour dire que les actions de M. Cummings avaient rendu le maintien de l’ordre «beaucoup plus difficile».
Dans un communiqué, l’ancien député travailliste David Jamieson a déclaré: « Le travail de la police consistant à faire respecter le verrouillage a été rendu beaucoup plus difficile après les actions de Dominic Cummings qui ont parcouru plus de 260 miles et la flexibilité avec laquelle le gouvernement semble désormais interpréter les directives.
Il a exhorté le Premier ministre à limoger son conseiller « pour restaurer la confiance du public et une certaine crédibilité dans sa gestion de cette terrible crise de Covid-19 ».
Les assistants conservateurs qui ont ressenti la colère de M. Cummings se fanaient également de sa controverse.
« Cela ne pouvait pas arriver à un gars plus gentil », a déclaré l’un d’eux à MailOnline. « Mais je suis sûr qu’ils ne le concéderont pas. “
Un autre a convenu que M. Cummings n’irait pas. « Il est trop nécessaire », ont-ils dit. « Qui d’autre voudra remplir le rôle qu’il a créé? “
Sa femme, la journaliste Mary Wakefield, a écrit sur sa lutte contre la maladie et a suggéré qu’il était enfermé dans leur résidence à Londres, tout comme le porte-parole du Premier ministre à la fin du mois de mars.
Les voisins ont été «choqués» de le voir dans le Nord-Est quelques jours après qu’il ait été photographié à Westminster et annoncé qu’il était isolé avec les symptômes de Covid-19.
Le voisin, qui ne voulait pas donner son nom, a déclaré au Mirror: «J’ai eu le choc de ma vie. There was a child, presumably her little boy, who was running ahead. J’ai reconnu Dominic Cummings, c’est une figure très distinctive.
«J’étais vraiment ennuyé. Je pensais ‘que c’est OK pour vous de conduire jusqu’à Durham et de vous échapper de Londres’.
« Je sympathise avec lui pour vouloir faire cela, mais les autres personnes ne sont pas autorisées à le faire. It’s a rule for Dominic Cummings and a rule for the rest of us.
Le 14 avril, l’aide a été photographié de retour à Westminster pour la première fois depuis son rétablissement du coronavirus.
M. Cummings n’a pas été giflé avec l’amende de 60 £ pour avoir enfreint les règles, ce qui were inaugurated on March 26.
Les lois sur les coronavirus introduites le 26 mars ont déclaré: «Vous ne devriez pas rendre visite à des membres de la famille qui ne vivent pas chez vous. The only exception is if they need help, like shopping or dropping off their medicine. “
Plusieurs jours plus tard, le 5 avril, M. Cummings serait resté sur la propriété de Durham et aurait été repéré par un voisin des parents de M. Cummings,
Le gouvernement a publié ses dernières diapositives montrant l’état de l’épidémie de coronavirus au Royaume-Uni ce soir
Qui a poignardé Dominic Cummings? La spéculation monte que les «forces obscures» sont à l’origine d’un exposé sur un assistant qui a osé affronter Whitehall – alors que les députés de l’opposition demandent ce que DID Boris Johnson sait sur la «dissimulation»
Par Glen Owen, Harry Cole et Brendan Carlin pour le courrier du dimanche
Les révélations explosives sur Dominic Cummings se déroulent dans le contexte de tensions croissantes entre l’aide non-conformiste et l’establishment de Whitehall – conduisant certains députés conservateurs à spéculer sur la question de savoir si les « forces obscures » étaient derrière l’exposé.
Hier, peu avant la parution de l’article dans deux journaux de gauche, des sources ont affirmé que M. Cummings avait été au centre d’une tentative de renverser le secrétaire du Cabinet, Sir Mark Sedwill, ce que nient 10 sources.
Les plaintes ont circulé à la suite de la nomination du secrétaire privé du duc de Cambridge, Simon Case, au poste auparavant dormant de secrétaire permanent du n ° 10.
Cette décision a été décrite par un assistant politique comme «un coup de feu à l’arc de Sedwill» – mais a également été considérée comme une tentative de diluer l’influence omniprésente de M. Cummings.
Des sources ont affirmé que M. Cummings avait été au centre d’une tentative de renverser le secrétaire du Cabinet, Sir Mark Sedwill (à gauche), ce que nient 10 sources. Les revendications ont circulé à la suite de la nomination du secrétaire privé du duc de Cambridge, Simon Case, (à droite) au poste précédemment inactif de secrétaire permanent du n ° 10
Kuenssberg de la BBC à la traîne de la gauche
La rédactrice politique de la BBC, Laura Kuenssberg, a fait l’objet de critiques acharnées hier après avoir semblé défendre Dominic Cummings suite à des informations selon lesquelles il aurait bafoué les règles de verrouillage.
Dans les 30 minutes suivant la fin de l’histoire vendredi soir, Mlle Kuenssberg a partagé une réfutation d’une source sans nom affirmant que le voyage de 260 miles de l’aide principale du Premier ministre de Londres au domicile de ses parents à Durham était « à l’intérieur [the] des lignes directrices’.
En réponse au journaliste du Daily Mirror qui a cassé l’histoire, Mlle Kuenssberg a tweeté: « La source dit que son voyage était conforme aux directives car Cummings est allé rester avec ses parents afin qu’ils puissent aider à la garde des enfants pendant que lui et sa femme étaient malades – ils n’insistent sur aucune violation de verrouillage ».
Sa réponse a été immédiatement accueillie par un chœur de condamnations de la part des trolls soutenant le Parti travailliste, certains l’accusant d’être un «porte-parole du gouvernement» et un «stooge conservateur».
Hier soir, sa réponse avait reçu près de 16 000 réponses.
Piers Morgan a décrit son explication comme un « non-sens absolu », tandis que l’ancien médecin du travail Alastair Campbell a demandé à Mlle Kuenssberg de « prendre le contrôle » pour avoir compté à plusieurs reprises sur « des sources proches de Dominic Cummings ».
Le philosophe A. C. Grayling a également contesté, tweetant: « Il est temps de mettre fin aux briefings anonymes » No 10 source » (= Cummings) (= à Laura Kuenssberg) = mensonges, propagande, pirouette, chats morts, etc. “
Sir Philip Pullman, auteur de la trilogie His Dark Materials, a déclaré: « Ma confiance en Laura Kuenssberg, pour qui j’avais un certain respect, s’estompe rapidement. “
Hier soir, le hashtag «sackkuenssberg» était en vogue sur Twitter. Cependant, d’autres ont sauté sur sa défense. L’ancien ministre du Travail, Jacqui Smith, a déclaré: « Qui que ce soit le méchant aujourd’hui, ce n’est pas Laura Kuenssberg. “
M. Cummings est un critique de longue date de l’establishment de Whitehall, décrivant la fonction publique permanente comme «une idée pour les livres d’histoire» et proposant la suppression des rôles des hauts fonctionnaires.
Une source de haut niveau a admis que les tensions étaient « en train de monter » dans le numéro 10, avec de nombreux fonctionnaires épuisés par la crise de Covid-19, mais a minimisé l’idée que M. Cummings avait été victime d’un « coup de main » par ses ennemis au gouvernement .
M. Case, un mandarin expérimenté et un ancien responsable de la sécurité au GCHQ, a été nommé pour servir de « pont » entre l’équipe politique de M. Johnson et la fonction publique, dans un aveu efficace que la crise a placé la structure actuelle n ° 10 sous une énorme charge souche.
M. Johnson a personnellement téléphoné au prince William la semaine dernière pour lui demander l’autorisation de détacher M. Case à Downing Street pour aider à faire face à la crise.
Pour ajouter aux tensions dans le numéro 10 et au sentiment que les ailes de Sir Mark sont coupées, la responsable de Whitehall, Helen Macnamara, a été promue secrétaire adjointe du cabinet ainsi que chef du secrétariat du cabinet.
Sir Mark avait auparavant occupé le rôle de coordination des travaux du Cabinet. Une source a ajouté: «Il y a une opinion selon laquelle certaines choses n’ont pas été vues par le Premier ministre par Sir Mark et que le Premier ministre a besoin de mieux comprendre ce qu’il fait. Il est clairement trop mince et maintenant ça change »
Un député conservateur a déclaré: «Dom s’est fait des ennemis partout, et vous ne pouvez pas vous empêcher de vous demander si des forces obscures ont été en jeu pour imposer leur vengeance.
Le secrétaire aux Transports, Grant Shapps, a défendu M. Cummings, alors qu’il faisait face à un déluge de questions sur l’affaire lors de la conférence de presse d’hier à Downing Street.
M. Shapps s’est mis en quatre pour insister sur le fait que l’assistant avait fait ce qu’il y avait de mieux pour son fils de quatre ans, en disant: « En période de crise, nous cherchons à avoir notre famille autour de nous ».
Mais il semblait irrité d’avoir été obligé de répondre à des questions répétées sur M. Cummings plutôt que sur la série d’annonces de transport – y compris un plan à deux voies transpennine – qu’il faisait.
M. Shapps a insisté sur le fait que M. Johnson était au courant de la décision de son aide clé de se rendre dans le comté de Durham afin que son jeune fils soit surveillé en toute sécurité, en disant: « Le Premier ministre aurait su qu’il restait sur place et il n’est pas reparti jusqu’à ce qu’il se sente mieux ».
Inspirée par le conseil de verrouillage, Jenny Harries, médecin hygiéniste en chef adjoint, a déclaré que l’interprétation des règles était pour les autres, ajoutant: « Toutes les directives ont un élément de bon sens », y compris la protection des enfants.