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UK PM’s advisor Cummings defends lockdown travel amid backlash

London, May 25 (efe-epa).- Dominic Cummings, the chief advisor to the British prime minister, on Monday defended his decision to drive from London to the north of England during the coronavirus lockdown.

News of the advisor’s trip to his parent’s property near Durham, allegedly in case he and his wife needed help with childcare, sparked a huge public backlash and calls for his resignation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood by him in a press conference late Sunday.

Cummings, who is widely credited with masterminding the Brexit campaign, held his own press conference at Downing Street on Monday to explain why he drove the 418 kilometers (260 miles) from the capital to the north of England at the end of March.

“I don’t regret what I did,” he told the press. “I think reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in those circumstances but I think what I did was actually reasonable.”

He said he decided to make the trip when he and is wife, Mary Wakefield started displaying coronavirus symptoms.

Cummings said there was a chance he had the virus considering he had been in close contact with Johnson, who ended up in ICU with Covid-19, and other members of the cabinet who presented symptoms.

Worried that he had no childcare options for the couple’s four-year-old, Cummings said he decided to drive to his parents house in Northumbria, where he remained isolated from the rest of the family.

He did not tell Johnson of his trip.

Cummings added that he had not offered, nor had he considered, resigning from his post, which is an appointed position.

“I can understand that some people will argue I should have stayed at home in London.

“However, I respectfully disagree.

“The legal rules inevitably do not cover all circumstances, including those that I found myself in,” he said.

The advisor said that media reports stating he had visited Durham a second time were false but acknowledged that he had visited the nearby tourist attraction Barnard Castle, but only to test his eyesight before driving to London.

Reports of his trip to Durham in The Guardian and the Mirror triggered a public backlash against Cummings as people accused government officials of acting with immunity from the lockdown rules that have prevented families up and down the country from attending funerals and left others to die alone in hospital.

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