Just under two weeks ago the UK was wrapped up in the scandal surrounding Dominic Cummings and his apparent breach of lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson's top aide was accused of driving with coronavirus symptoms from London to Durham, where his parents live because he had his wife couldn't get any childcare.
Cummings when then reported to having broken lockdown again while he was in Durham when he drove to Barnard Castle to 'test his eyesight.'
The fury that this debacle created only got worse when the government refused to condemn Cummings and stood by their man through thick and thin despite many backbench MP voicing their disapproval.
Another person representing the government to publicly speak out against Cummings was professor Jonathan Van-Tam who during the 31 May coronavirus daily briefing was asked his opinions on the Cummings story and said in response:
In my opinion the rules are clear and they have always been clear. In my opinion they are for the benefit of all. In my opinion they apply to all.
Van-Tam's unprecedented act of defiance saw him hailed as an unlikely hero but something unusual has happened since.
Although it was less than two weeks ago, Van-Tam has not appeared at a single one of the government's coronavirus daily briefings since he voiced his criticism of Cummings.
Many other government advisers including Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser who appeared alongside Boris Johnson on Wednesday have been featured by Van-Tam is nowhere to be seen. Matt Hancock even conducted the 5 June edition of the briefing on his own.
His abscene from the briefings has not gone unnoticed.
After Jonathan Van Tam said the ‘rules apply to all’ he’s never been at a daily briefing https://t.co/rFTanIfkVq