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Brexit Architect Cummings Defends Decision to Travel amid Lockdown

Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement at 10 Downing Street amid the coronavirus outbreak, London, Britain, May 25, 2020. (Jonathan Brady & Pool/ Reuters)

Dominic Cummings, the top adviser to British prime minister Boris Johnson and a key player in Brexit, argued that he “behaved reasonably” in driving 260 miles to his parents’ home, despite being exposed to his wife’s coronavirus-like symptoms.

“I’m not surprised many people are very angry,” Cummings said in a Monday press conference. “I don’t regret what I did; I think what I did was reasonable in these circumstances.” Cummings, who himself contracted the virus after travelling, said he made the decision to be near family over worries he and his wife would not be able to care for their 4-year-old son.

“I think the people like me who make the rules should be held accountable for their actions,” Cummings explained, but refused to accept British media criticism that he had broken the lockdown by travelling, pointing to a clause in the guidelines that allows for exceptional childcare circumstances.

Johnson dismissed calls for Cummings’s resignation, saying his adviser “followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that.”

“I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity,” Johnson, who himself contracted the virus, said Sunday.

The opposition Labour Party slammed the decision, saying Cummings “breached the lockdown rules.”

“It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said in a statement. “The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the prime minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.”

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