UK minister quits in letter to Johnson over top adviser’s actions during coronavirus lockdown

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A United Kingdom government minister resigned Tuesday after hearing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, defend his 260-mile trip from London during the country’s coronavirus lockdown while showing symptoms of the virus.

Douglas Ross, a junior minister in the Scotland Office, quit Johnson’s Conservative government, saying “the vast majority of people” didn't agree with Cummings’ action.

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“I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government,” Ross wrote in a resignation letter. “I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”

Ross has received praise for his decision from both Tory and opposition MPs, many of whom have accused Cummings of breaching the lockdown orders and called for his firing or resignation.

A spokesman for the prime minister’s office said Johnson regrets Ross’ decision to step down and thanked him for his service, the BBC reported.

Junior British government minister Douglas Ross, right, has quit over Johnson’s failure to fire his top aide, Dominic Cummings, for allegedly breaching COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown rules. (Stefan Rousseau / PA via AP)

Junior British government minister Douglas Ross, right, has quit over Johnson’s failure to fire his top aide, Dominic Cummings, for allegedly breaching COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown rules. (Stefan Rousseau / PA via AP)

Ross remains a Tory member of parliament for Moray, a region in Scotland.

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Cummings drove from his home in London to his parents’ Durham farm on March 27, only a few days after Johnson had imposed a national lockdown that banned all non-essential travel. He displayed symptoms of COVID-19 while making the trip.

He told reporters Monday that he believed he was acting “reasonably” and within the confines of the law in making the cross-England journey to care for his wife and children, the outlet reported.

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Johnson, who was sick with COVID-19 around the same time as Cummings and spent three nights in intensive care, has backed his adviser, saying Cummings “followed the instincts of every father and every parent.”

Fox News' Frank Miles and Danielle Wallace, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.