Analysis: Boris Johnson playing very dangerous game over Cummings

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aid Dominic Cummings arrives at his north London home holding

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aid Dominic Cummings arrives at his north London home holding his son, as lockdown questions continue to bombard the Government with the Prime Minister facing pressure to sack his closest aide after it emerged that he travelled to his parents' home despite coronavirus-related restrictions. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2020. Police have confirmed they attended a property in County Durham after it emerged that he travelled more than 260-miles from his London home during the lockdown that his boss had just announced. Political leaders have piled pressure on Mr Johnson to sack the 48-year-old strategist for flouting the rules. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Dominic Cummings is loved and hated in government and the wider Conservative party. But not in equal measures.

Boris Johnson loves him. After all he delivered not only the Brexit victory but a stunning election triumph late last year.

But times have changed beyond all recognition.

This is not an election campaign. This is the biggest crisis any government has faced in peace time.

Lots of others – front bench and beyond – cannot abide Mr Cummings.

In his press conference the prime minister said Mr Cummings acted with “integrity” when he travelled 260 miles while both he and his wife were reportedly ill with this dreadful, killer virus to supposedly ensure child care for his four-year-old.

Those words will feel like a knife in the heart to those who have lost loved ones. To those who have missed funerals, have not broken rules in order to see children and parents. The general public is suffering. The people are foregoing hugs and laughs and smiles.

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This story is not just going to go away.

Mr Cummings is a maverick. He is a character and has become a media figure.

I know a lot of current and former government advisors. The rule has long been “if you become the story it’s time to go”.

For many people who are still sacrificing so much to stick to the rules and save lives it will undoubtedly seem like it is one rule for the people and another for the elite which Mr Cummings has so often railed against.

By sticking by his most-trusted adviser the prime minister is playing a very dangerous game.

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