Aide to British PM Cummings says he doesn’t regret lockdown trip

UK junior minister resigns over PM adviser's lockdown drive

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's closest adviser, refused to resign on Monday, saying he had done nothing wrong by driving 250 miles to northern England when Britain was under a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister would like to thank Douglas Ross for his service to government and regrets his decision to stand down as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland".

The row has dominated newspaper headlines in the United Kingdom since it was revealed on May 22 that Cummings, together with his wife and their four-year-old son, drove about 418 km from London to his parents' home in northeast city of Durham.

The prime minister's chief adviser is now under heavy scrutiny for the trip and has faced numerous calls to resign from all sides, including a number of Conservative MPs.

The defence of his actions comes amid furious calls for him to resign or be sacked by Mr Johnson for travelling north during lockdown to self-isolate with his family after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms.

Cummings was anxious that if he also became ill, which he subsequently did, there would be problems looking after their young son, so he headed to Durham to isolate there for 14 days close to his family members. "But I think that what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances", Cummings said, adding that the rules covered exceptional circumstances when it came to issues of looking after small children. "No, I did not consider it", a visibly nervous Cummings said. "I believe that in all circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally".

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