The leaders of six UK political parties have written to the Prime Minister demanding he sack his top adviser.
Boris Johnson has backed Dominic Cummings after it emerged he had driven 260 miles to his parents’ home in Durham during lockdown and then took a 60 mile round trip to Barnham Castle to ‘test his eyesight’.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Green Party and the Alliance Party have all joined forces in calling for the PM’s right-hand-man to be removed from his post ‘without delay’.
In their letter the leaders say: ‘There is deep and genuine concern across our communities that the events surrounding the conduct of your chief adviser, Mr Dominic Cummings, have severely undermined trust and confidence in public health advice.
They say this warning has already been made by experts from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which feeds analysis to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
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The leaders add: ‘This issue is now primarily a question of maintaining trust and confidence in public health advice’. It is now a matter of record that Mr Dominic Cummings broke multiple lockdown rules. He is yet to express any apology or contrition for these actions.
‘There cannot be one rule for those involved in formulating public health advice and another for the rest of us. This is an issue that transcends politics.
‘It has united people of every party and political persuasion, who believe strongly that it is now your responsibility as Prime Minister to return clarity and trust in public health messaging.’
‘We are clear that this can now only be achieved by removing Dominic Cummings from his post without further delay. In the weeks and months ahead, it will be crucial that people obey the rules and have confidence in those setting them.
It is in all our interests that public trust is maintained, and that people buy into essential public health messaging. Given our deep concerns around the impact of these matters on public health advice, we are also forwarding this letter to the chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), Sir Patrick Vallance.’
Downing Street have said Sir Patrick and chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty did not take part in Monday’s press conference because the PM believed the questions would involve around Dominic Cummings.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘I think the view of the Prime Minister was that the questions yesterday were likely to be focused on the statement earlier in the day and would all be directed at him.
‘And therefore that Patrick and Chris didn’t need to take part. I think you can expect to see them at press conferences in the coming days. They were in No 10 yesterday in order to give an update to the PM, which they do regularly..
Asked if they refused to express support for Mr Cummings, the spokesman said: ‘Nothing to suggest that, no.’
More to follow.
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Source: Metro News UK