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UK PM's top aide Cummings defies calls to quit

Updated: 2020-05-26 10:19

Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he arrives at his house in London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings defied calls to resign on Monday over allegations that he broke coronavirus rules and undermined the government's response to the health crisis.

The Brexit campaign strategist told reporters he had acted "reasonably and legally" when he drove across the country with his wife while she was suffering from the virus in early April.

"I don't regret what I did... I think reasonable people may well disagree", he said.

Britain was then recording hundreds of deaths daily and following strict lockdown rules requiring people with even the slightest symptoms to stay at home for at least a week.

"I have not offered to resign. No, I did not consider it," a visibly nervous Cummings said.

"In this very complex situation, I tried to exercise my judgement the best I could. I believe that in all circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally."

Cummings did not apologise for his behaviour but did express regret for not asking Johnson -- himself already hospitalised for COVID-19 -- for permission to travel during the lockdown's most restrictive phase.

"Arguably, this was a mistake and I understand that some will say that I should have spoken to the prime minister before deciding what to do," Cummings said.

His "no regrets" comment was the headline for several major newspapers Tuesday.


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