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Boris Johnson to face senior MPs amid Cummings row

Boris Johnson will be questioned by senior MPs later amid continued calls for his top adviser to resign.

The prime minister will appear before the Commons Liaison Committee for 90 minutes, during which he will be asked about Dominic Cummings’ controversial lockdown trip to County Durham.

Around 40 Tory MPs have called for Mr Cummings to resign or be fired after his 260-mile journey came to light.

But cabinet minister Robert Jenrick told the BBC it was “time to move on”.

Wednesday’s session, due to begin at 16.00 BST, will be the first time that the PM has faced questions from MPs since the allegations against Mr Cummings emerged at the end of last week.

The bulk of the hearing will be devoted to the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including testing, PPE, schools and the economy, with the section on Mr Cummings’ actions due to last less than 30 minutes.

On Wednesdays Mr Johnson would ordinarily face Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions, but MPs are currently on recess.

Mr Cummings’ decision in March to drive from his London home to his parents’ farm in County Durham with his wife – who had coronavirus symptoms – and his son has dominated the headlines since the story broke on Friday night.

The PM’s chief adviser gave a news conference on Monday, explaining that he decided to make the trip because he felt it would be better to self-isolate in a place where he had options for childcare if required.

He has received the continued support of the prime minister, who said that his aide had acted legally and with integrity.

But cross-party critics have called for Mr Cummings to leave No 10, while junior minister Douglas Ross resigned in protest.

Mr Cummings has defended his trip to County Durham during lockdown

Sir Bob Neill, Tory MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, is among those calling for Mr Cummings to resign, saying the row had become a “distraction”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Mr Cummings had “real talents and abilities” but “no adviser is indispensable”.

However, in a note to fellow MPs, Danny Kruger, former political secretary to Mr Johnson and now Tory MP for Devizes, said demanding the resignation of Mr Cummings was “basically declaring no confidence in the PM”.

In response, Sir Bob said he didn’t accept this, adding: “This is actually about us wanting to help the prime minister to get back to be able to focus on the key task of pulling the country together.”

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