UK leader Johnson stands by aide who took 250-mile lockdown trip

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will not fire his chief aide for allegedly violating the national coronavirus lockdown rules that he helped to create.

Johnson defies a growing clamor for the dismissal of adviser Dominic Cummings, who drove 250 miles (400 kilometers) from London to his parents’ home in Durham, in northeast England, with his wife and son, as he was coming down with COVID-19 at the end of March.

Britain’s lockdown, which began March 23, stipulated that people should remain at their primary residence, leaving only for essential local errands and exercise. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms was told to completely isolate themselves.

Cummings says he traveled to be near extended family because his wife was showing COVID-19 symptoms, he correctly thought he was also infected, and he wanted to ensure that his 4-year-old son was looked after.

Johnson says he had held “extensive” conversations with Cummings and concluded he acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity.”

He tells a news conference that Cummings “followed the instincts of every father and every parent.”

But several lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservative Party joined the opposition in calling for Cummings to go.


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