Should Boris Johnson sack Dominic Cummings?

The government and Boris Johnson have been fielding heavy criticism over the weekend after it emerged Dominic Cummings, Johnson's chief adviser, had broken lockdown rules to drive to Durham at the end of March.

The government has defended Mr Cummings, with Mr Johnson repeatedly excusing his journey at the national press briefing yesterday by saying he was acting in the best interest of his child.

Cummings is said to have driven from London to Durham to get help with childcare for his four-year-old son at a time when his wife was suffering from coronavirus symptoms and he should have been self-isolating for 14 days.

Several panellists appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss whether Mr Johnson should sack Cummings and if not, why not?

Good Morning Britain also ran a Twitter poll asking whether Cummings should sacked, you can see the results below:

Palliative care doctor Dr Rachel Clarke believes the Prime Minister's decision to defend his chief adviser is 'terribly wrong' when so many people have abided by the rules.

"All of these heartbreaking sacrifices are being made up and down the country, by ordinary men and women and I feel as though Boris Johnson in supporting Dominic Cummings' rule-breaking has essentially insulted every one of those sacrifices," she said. "Because apparently if you're as wealthy and powerful and well-connected as an unelected adviser like Dominic Cummings the rules don't apply to you."

Dr Clarke added: "You have to follow the rules for the sake of everybody, that is the way you survive a pandemic. It is a collective act of goodwill to save everybody.

"I know how heartbreaking it is for loved ones not only to be unable to come into hospital, but also perhaps to not go to a funeral, or perhaps the most heartbreaking thing is when somebody has died from coronavirus and their spouse, particularly if they're elderly, has to grieve at home in isolation because those are the rules."

Dr Dominic Pimenta, an intensive care clinician, says there is 'such a risk' of undermining the effectiveness of the precautions that have been in place in the fight against coronavirus.

He said: "People have sacrificed so much to follow the letter of the rules. We cannot rewrite what the letter of the rules was because there's such risk to undermining the effectiveness of the precautions as they stand. This is incredibly dangerous and a catastrophic error of government."

Stephen Reicher, a behavioural scientist and member of the SPI-B group advising government on behavioural science, was damning in his criticism of the government saying the decision not to sack Mr Cummings will cost lives.

Reicher said: "If you look at the research the reason people observed lockdown was not for themselves, it wasn't because they were personally at risk, they did it for the community, they did it for the sense that 'we're all in this together', and if you give the impression there's one rule for them and one rule for us, you fatally undermine that sense and you undermine adherence to the forms of behaviour that have got us through this crisis."

He added: "If now the government turns round and says 'oh well actually when the going gets tough it's fine not to make those sacrifices', if everybody had done that then we wouldn't have flattened the curve and many more would have been dying.

"Because of the undermining trust in the government, because of undermining of adherence to the rules, people are going to die."

Journalist and commentator Tom Harwood appeared on the show to defend Mr Cummings saying his trip to Durham was a clear example of safeguarding his children.

"He didn't know how sick his family would get and his child has specific childcare needs. It's not like he was going out for extra-marital affairs," he said.

"This is a clear example of safeguarding children and ultimately if he had the same facts and had to make that same decision again I think he probably would have made that same decision again and that's not something we should be chastising him about."