This is when Dominic Cummings will speak today about lockdown breaching allegations

Monday, 25th May 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Monday, 25th May 2020, 2:58 pm
The statement is to be broadcast live on BBC News and Sky news (Photo: Getty Images)

Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, is to make a public statement on Monday (25 May) afternoon regarding allegations he broke lockdown restrictions.

The address by Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser marks a rare move as aides largely stay out of the limelight, but it comes amid calls from Labour and some Tory MPs for him to quit, or be fired.

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Mr Cummings is expected to take questions over his actions as he faces growing pressure to resign from his government role.

Why is Dominic Cummings making a statement?

Mr Cummings is to make a public address after coming under fire for travelling 260 miles from London to County Durham during the lockdown.

The chief adviser made the decision to take the journey to self-isolate with his family in March, despite official guidelines warning against long-distance journeys.

He is said to have taken the trip so that he would be close to relatives who could look after his four-year-old son should he and his wife, who had developed coronavirus symptoms, become ill at the same time.

Further reports also suggested that he took a second trip to the North East in April, having already returned to London after recovering from coronavirus.

Under lockdown rules, anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus must remain in their homes.

Mr Cummings is to give a full explanation of his actions in a statement on Monday (25 May).

When is the statement, and can I watch it?

Mr Cummings is expected to make a statement at 4pm on Monday (25 May).

The statement is to be broadcast live on BBC News and Sky news later this afternoon.

Boris Johnson is then expected to lead the daily press conference at 5pm.

Will he be forced to resign?

Despite the backlash over the journey made by Mr Cummings, Boris Johnson has defended his aide and said he “acted responsibly, legally and with integrity”.

Mr Johnson said he believed his adviser acted in the best interests of his child and described his actions as a behaviour “any parent would frankly understand”.

In a press conference on Sunday (24 May), the Prime Minister said that after “extensive” talks with Mr Cummings, he concluded that he had “followed the instincts of every father and every parent”.

Mr Johnson said: “I have had extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings and I have concluded that in travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus – and when he had no alternative – I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent.”

Mr Cummings also received support from several other senior Cabinet ministers when the allegations emerged, but has since been met with increasing criticism from Tory MPs.

However, a number of Conservative backbenchers have now joined calls from opposition parties for Mr Cummings to resign or be sacked, amid accusations his actions have “undermined” the efforts to fight coronavirus.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned the consequences of the Prime Minister’s decision to defend his actions could be "serious", while acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said it undermined Boris Johnson’s authority on the coronavirus crisis.

Did he break the law?

The Education Secretary has said it was his “understanding” from the Prime Minister that Mr Cummings and his family did not break the law by travelling to Durham during lockdown.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Gavin Williamson said Mr Johnson had been “absolutely categorically assured” that Mr Cummings and his family both followed the guidance and followed the rules.

He said: “The guidance is incredibly extensive and at the heart of that guidance is always the issue of safeguarding children and making sure that children are always absolutely protected.

“My understanding is from what the Prime Minister said yesterday […] is that at every stage Dominic Cummings followed and his family followed the guidance, and at no stage did Dominic Cummings or his family break the law.”