UK opposition calls on PM to sack top adviser over 400 km lockdown drive

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday faced calls from opposition parties to fire consultant Dominic Cummings after reports that he broke the blocking rules while traveling 400 km while sick with COVID-19 symptoms.

Cummings, who planned the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum, traveled to Durham in northern England in late March, when there was already a strict blockade, the Guardian and Mirror newspapers reported.

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British guidelines say that people should stay home and avoid visiting family members unless they need essential items, such as food or medicine.

The BBC's political editor quoted an unidentified source close to Cummings as saying he traveled to Durham during the confinement because he needed help from his parents to care for children while he was ill.

Cummings did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment. Downing Street also declined to comment.

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Scottish National Party parliamentary leader Ian Blackford said Johnson should fire Cummings.

"Dominic Cummings should have done the right thing, he should have resigned, but now that he didn't, Boris Johnson must show leadership and he should remove him from office immediately," he said.

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Cummings' actions gave the impression that there was a rule for the powerful and another for the people, Blackford said.

The Labor Party said that if the report was accurate, it appeared to have violated the rules of the blockade.

"The British people do not expect there to be a rule for them and another for Dominic Cummings. Number 10 needs to provide a very quick explanation for their actions," said Labor.

Liberal Democrats said that if Cummings broke the guidelines, he should step down. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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