Coronavirus: Boris Johnson urges United Kingdom to 'move on' from Cummings row

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Boris Johnson has said he hopes the two-metre social distancing rule can soon be reduced to enable businesses such as pubs and restaurants to reopen faster.

"Boris Johnson's unwillingness or inability to do the right thing has left the Government looking untrustworthy and unprincipled", Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Thursday.

At least 35 Tory MPs have called for Mr Cummings' departure, while senior minister Penny Mordaunt admitted there were "inconsistencies" in his account and that "there is no doubt he took risks".

"It is very hard to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing", he told the Liaison Committee during questions on reopening the economy.

People should not be inside the homes of their friends and families, unless it is to access the garden, he added.

He said: "I've said quite a lot on this matter already and what I also note is that what Durham police said was that they were going to take no action and that the matter was closed". The reason you're dodging this is because, the reason why you are not giving people a direct answer, is because you are trying to protect Dominic Cummings.

The spokesperson said: "The PM made clear that as we begin to move to the next phase of tackling this virus, he remains determined to work closely with the devolved administrations".

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Former Tory chancellor Sajid Javid said Mr Cummings's trip to County Durham was neither "necessary or justified" and he should apologise.

Mr Johnson will face around 20 minutes of questioning on the Cummings row during his appearance before the Liaison Committee, a panel made up of select committee chairmen and women.

Tory MPs and scientists advising ministers have warned that Mr Cummings' actions risk undermining respect for the restrictions which have helped curb the spread of the virus.

Women and Equalities Committee chairwoman Caroline Nokes, who will also be on the panel, has said "there can not be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others".

The Prime Minister rejected a call on Wednesday for Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to investigate Mr Cummings' actions during the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

For those who are shielding, the prime minister urged them to continue to do so.

Sir Bernard insisted the format for the session has been agreed by the committee. Cummings has defended his actions, saying he traveled to ensure that his 4-year-old son could be looked after if he and his wife, who both had coronavirus symptoms, became sick.

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