A petition calling for Dominic Cummings to be sacked after he drove to Durham from London during lockdown has been signed by one million people.
Boris Johnson’s senior adviser travelled 260 miles to his parents’ property to seek childcare support at a time when the government was telling people to “Stay At Home”.
While in Durham he drove 26 miles from his parents’ house to Barnard Castle, a trip he claimed he made to test his ability to drive after coronavirus affected his eyesight.
The prime minister has stood by Cummings, saying he acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity” - comments which have sparked widespread condemnation from the government’s own scientific advisers.
A quarter of Conservative MPs have called for Cummings to quit, with many saying they have been inundated with messages from enraged constituents.
A Change.org petition, created by Gary Kelly on 25 May calling for the aide to lose his job, has reached a million supporters.
A YouGov poll published this week showed a majority of the British public think Cummings should quit his role.
On Thursday Durham Constabulary released a statement saying Cummings may have committed “a minor breach” of lockdown rules that would have warranted police intervention when he drove to Barnard Castle, but will face no further action.
The statement said: “Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.
“Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis.
“Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.”
The prime minister has called for the media and public to “move on” from the row, and refused to answer questions on the matter on at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday.
He also blocked his Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser from answering questions as to whether Cummings’ actions had disrupted the government’s public health message.
The PM said: “I’ve said quite a lot on this matter already and I also noticed that Durham police said that they were going to take no action and that the matter was closed.
“I intend to draw a line under the matter.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Johnson of “totally misjudging” the nation’s mood, saying he would have sacked Cummings immediately.
Starmer said: “The weakness of the prime minister has meant a loss of a week when we should have been concentrating on what comes next.
“He should have acted, he was too weak to do so.”