Boris Johnson dismisses demands from MPs for official inquiry into Dominic Cummings BBC News


BBC News


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Boris Johnson has repeatedly dismissed calls for an official inquiry into the conduct of his top advisor Dominic Cummings the prime minister was put on the spot by a committee of senior MPs and asked to authorize a formal investigation into why mr. Cummings drove his family hundreds of miles during the lockdown mr. Johnson said he understood public indignation but said that the outcry was just a political ding-dong more Conservative MPs have come forward today to demand mr. Cummings his resignation despite the Prime Minister's appeals for everyone to move on and to focus on the new contact tracing system to fight the pandemic which is being launched tomorrow in England and in Scotland where they have their own system the latest official figures show that the total number of deaths across the UK is now 37 thousand four hundred and sixty and there were four hundred and twelve deaths recorded in the last 24 hour period mr. Johnson's appearance before that committee was hardly plain sailing as our political editor Laura Coons Berg tells us he is the Prime Minister's top adviser it's been the Prime Minister's choice to keep him on the prime minister who's had Dominic Cummings by his side so today it was for the prime minister to defend their decisions to MPs have you had a look at your inbox my inbox like MP's across the UK is filled with people listening their sacrifices he would see sorry well you see sorry on his behalf I am sorry for the the pain as I've said the anguish and the heartbreak of so many people in this country what about mr. Cummings journey confusing other parents the reason you're not giving people a straight answer is because you are trying to protect Dominic Cummings 40,000 people are dead we need you to get this right now so can you tell us you have a choice between protecting Dominic Cummings and putting the national interest first which will it be Prime Minister well I think my choices are the choice of the breach people I want us all to make a bet and that is as far as we possibly can to lay aside a party political point-scoring to put the national interest first this is now a distraction people are very annoyed Prime Minister is that on your radar I do understand why people feel such indignation about the whole business the pain of the whole business of the of the lockdown but I really also think that what they want now is for us to focus on them the Prime Minister was also pressed on the country's halting start to testing for the virus and plans for a huge tracing system starting tomorrow why it took until April to introduce the hundred thousand test targets even though our first confirmed case was in January the brutal reality generally is that this country did not learn the lessons of SARS or MERS and we didn't have a test operation ready to go on the scale that we needed but from tomorrow thousands of people in England could be asked to stay at home if they've been in contact with anyone with the virus for the compulsory or is it we intend to make it absolutely clear to people that they must stay at home the law or is it advice we will be asking people to stay at home that captivity for a tiny minority for a short time will allow us gradually to release 66 million people from the current situation why he was asked quarantine people flying into the UK soon when it started the virus the government Allied planes to keep going to and fro why now when we're easing the lockdown and other countries are ending quarantine and why not when we entered into lockdown as the scientific advice was was very clear that it would make no difference to the to the arrival of the of the what we don't want to see is reinfection from from abroad and we think a sensible quarantine scheme can help and then an awkward question about who holds the Prime Minister's attention you made the distinction between there being a lot of women and enough women how many is enough boy that's that's a question on which I'm Compton to pronounce is it not 50% joking though is it it's not and I all I'd say Caroline is that it's incredibly important to us incredibly important to us as those conservatives but this afternoon was dominated by questions about the Prime Minister's advisor again and again Boris Johnson said he wanted to move on but even as he was speaking there were more calls from Tory MPs for mr. Cummings to say sorry or quit so even in the Prime Minister's own political party upset hasn't faded not yet clearing things up is not straightforward but number 10 believes toughing it out will see them through Lawrenceburg BBC News Westminster now the health secretary Matt Hancock says the rollout of the test and trade scheme in England tomorrow is an important milestone and declared it was everyone's civic duty to cooperate he said those who've been in contact with people showing symptoms of kovat 19 will be told to self isolate even if they themselves do not have symptoms Northern Ireland has its own version up and running Scotland has announced its own system will also start tomorrow and Wales the system is due to start in early June our health editor Hugh Pym has more details it's billed as a new phase in the battle to contain the virus targeting people at risk in the areas where they live so restrictions for others can be progressively eased it'll be a big ask for some those who've recently met up with someone who tested positive will be told to self isolate for two weeks NHS tests and trace means we can start to replace the national lockdown with individual isolation for those who've been in contact with the virus and local action where it's necessary to respond to a flare on a local tracing systems already been tried out in Sheffield volunteers got in touch with individuals who'd recently been in contact with people who had the virus and it wasn't always easy all you're saying to people is isolates don't go to work maybe don't earn they're difficult things to say and there isn't if you you're making people anxious they might get the illness so that piece is is hard so will people self isolate if they're asked to I guess there's a risk that some of your civil liberties are being infringed but in the immediate instance you've got to stay safe for the benefit of you and everyone around you I'd probably initially be a bit scared but I would be happy to isolate for 14 days here's how it works if you have coronavirus symptoms you self isolate and book yourself a test if it's positive an official will call and discuss your recent contacts anyone you've been two metres or less from for more than 15 minutes or closer than one meter face-to-face so that could be colleagues in the office or friends you may have seen the traces then call these people and tell them to self isolate for up to 14 days though ultimately it's voluntary a smartphone app to help the process has been tried out but is not yet ready to be officially launched so will the scheme work some are cautious about how it might turn out in practice it is a big undertaking and the huge challenge is to link up the testing and tracing people with your carers the local GPS and the local public health system but if we get it right then it provides us with a fantastic Community Shield test results need to come back quickly but Pauline who was tested on Tuesday last week at a drive-in Center like this still hasn't heard eight days later I have still not received a result and I'm feeling very anxious I'm just wondering when I'm going to get the text message to tell me the Scottish Government's test and protect strategy would also be launched tomorrow a scheme in Wales is set to start on Monday Northern Ireland's got underway last week the aim is always the same search out those who might be infected get them to self isolate and hopefully contain the virus and he was with me now let's talk about this track and race regime as explained by Matt Hancock it is asking quite a lot of people isn't it yes you people can have to expect quite big changes potentially first of all if you develop symptoms you are expected to book a test online get it done and if you test positive you will then be told to go on to a government website and put in details of your recent contacts people you've met up with their phone numbers their email addresses now that may well raise a few concerns NHS leaders have gone out of their way to say data confidentiality will be absolutely crucial here that's what happens in the NHS and it will be observed then there's this other group of people who may be perfectly fit and well without any symptoms who get a call or an email saying that they've been in contact with someone who's tested positive they will have to self isolate for 14 days they will be expected to do that and ministers have not ruled out potentially if this is the last resort financial penalties that's quite a lot for people to get used to so is it going to work well the infrastructure all seems to be there but it really depends on test results coming back quickly and as we heard there some people been waiting several days the app the contact tracing app that was much talked about that still hasn't been in to a position where it can be rolled out nationally it's still being tried out so there's been a broad welcome for all this it's seen as a crucial way forward to try to charter way through raising lockdown restrictions but a lot of questions still over whether it really can be delivered here once again thanks very much you can now our health