Newsnight's Emily Maitlis issues blistering attack on government over Dominic Cummings row


"Fury, contempt and anguish" - The BBC's Emily Maitlis opened last night's edition of Newsnight with a searing summing up of public anger over the Dominic Cummings row.

She said the public was "shocked" that Boris Johnson was unable to see that Mr Cummings had broken the rules.

At the top of the show, Ms Maitlis said: "Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.

“The longer ministers and the prime minister tell us he worked with them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.

“He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, he tagged the lazy label of ‘elite’ on those who disagreed.

“He should understand that public mood. One of fury, contempt, and anguish."

She added: “He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to feel like they can flout them.”

"The Prime Minister knows all this, and despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it."

The government told the BBC no government minister was available to appear on last night's programme.

This morning, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said the public should "move on".

"Now I think is the time for us all to move on," Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC.

"That's not to say this isn't an important issue or that people don't care a great deal about it but I think there is a lot more that we need to focus on now, like the virus and the economy."
(Image: Daily Mirror Phil Harris)

The Prime Minister will be quizzed at a Commons committee meeting on the decision of Mr Cummings to drive from London to Durham during the shutdown.

It comes amid a growing revolt in Mr Johnson's party, with at least 30 Tory MPs having now publicly called for Mr Cummings to be sacked or to resign.

And a YouGov survey for The Times showed the Conservative lead over Labour dropped by nine points during the Cummings saga, as support for the Government fell four points to 44% with Labour rising five points in the week to Tuesday, to 38%.

Senior ministers have expressed public support for the defiant adviser but there are reports a number of Cabinet members have privately called for him to be ousted from No 10.