Instant reaction to Dominic Cumming’s – “no regrets”

Analysis by Sky News political correspondent Tamara Cohen:

Extraordinary. Unprecedented. 

An unelected adviser to the prime minister taking a solo press conference for 70 minutes, about his own conduct – in the Number 10 rose garden – is not a spectacle Westminster has seen before or is likely to again.

And after 72 hours which has rocked Boris Johnson’s government, as the prime minister and cabinet have swung behind Dominic Cummings in face of growing anger, how did he do?

Well, the key thing to say is there was no apology. 

Mr Cummings confirmed he had travelled 260 miles to Durham after his wife Mary fell ill – and isolated there, in defiance of what most people took to be an instruction to stay at home.

He claimed he did not tell the prime minister about it – and that is the only aspect of this for which he expressed some regret.

Sympathy yes, for others in the same or worse situations who were unaware of the legal clause he uses to defend his conduct on the grounds of his “extreme circumstances” – including feeling as if his London home could be a target.

But for the public anger, he entirely blamed the media reporting of his actions.

And there is the bizarre business about his half-hour drive to Barnard Castle from Durham in order to “test his eyesight” ahead of a drive back to London. That will be picked over for some time.

What has stuck in the craw for many of his critics, including Tory MPs, is Mr Cummings’ perceived arrogance – refusing to give any explanation of his actions until this point other than to claim media reports were inaccurate. 

Having confirmed that plenty of it was accurate, and made clear that he has at no point offered to resign or indeed considered it, won’t endear him on that front.

All in all – Mr Cummings certainly didn’t duck scrutiny, he took dozens of questions, and for a man often caricatured by his enemies, he appeared human and at times nervous.

He said he understood the “intense hardship and sacrifice” of others as a result of the lockdown he helped create, and asked people to understand him. Many won’t, especially as sorry seemed to be the hardest word.

One thought on “Instant reaction to Dominic Cumming’s – “no regrets”

  1. he is an absolute disgrace using his young son as a pawn in this disaster of his own making, Boris has certainly shot himself in the foot with this outrageous performance


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