Boris Johnson has faced questions from the media and the public for the first time since his closest adviser Dominic Cummings was embroiled in a scandal regarding his movements during the lockdown period.
Cummings admitted to driving 265 miles from London to Durham, claiming he had childcare concerns because he suspected he’d soon fall ill with Covid-19. Downing Street and Cummings have denied he broke the rules, and that he visited Durham on more than one occasion.
At the briefing, Johnson publicly threw his support behind Cummings, but he didn’t always look 100 per cent comfortable answering questions.
One key moment happened when the BBC’s Iain Watson asked the PM if he knew about Cummings’ trip, if he approved it and if his adviser travelled outside the family home to local beauty spots. It has been reported he was seen at a castle 30 miles outside Durham, but yesterday ministers emphasised that he had stayed put once he got there.
Johnson didn’t answer the question directly.
What I can tell you is that, when you look at the guidance and the childcare needs at the time, it was reasonable of him to self isolate as he did for 14 days or more with his family where he did.
I think that was sensible and defensible and I understand it.
As for all the other allegations… I’ve looked at them carefully, and I’m content that at all times, throughout his period in isolation - actually on both sides of that period - he behaved responsibly and correctly with an view to defeating the virus and stopping the spread.
It remains to be seen whether the prime minister's answer will draw a line under this issue, or lead to even more questions.