If Boris Johnson’s chief policy aide had done so, and been straighter with the public over his 260-mile trip from London to Durham at the outset, the public might be more sympathetic. After all, his family were being struck down by Covid-19. A relative later died. And his four-year-old son also needed hospital treatment.
However these are all hardships that families across the country have had to endure at this time with great humility and stoicism.
What they will struggle to understand – more so now – is the rule breaches that Mr Cummings admitted like returning to the office when his wife was taken ill and that drive to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.
But what they will find unforgivable is the fact that the did observe the strict ‘stay at home’ message while Mr Cummings believed he was exempt because of his family’s ‘exceptional circumstances’ and that he had no regrets.
When the Government should be fully focusing on the ‘exceptional circumstances’ of Covid-19, it is consumed by a scandal which reveals a discernible arrogance and shameful hypocrisy at the heart of Downing Street’s operation which is at odds with the values of the country that it purports to lead.
Yet, while Mr Cummings confirmed that he did not offer his resignation to Mr Johnson on Sunday, he did then concede: “That’s not for me to decide, it’s up to him decide.”
The question, therefore, is akin to one which was put to Mr Cummings so succinctly: Is the Prime Minister, a populist leader now losing support and credibility, capable of doing his job – and providing the necessary leadership at a time of global crisis – without the man long regarded as the real power in Downing Street?
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