Dominic Cummings has broken his silence after it emerged he apparently flouted lockdown rules by travelling to Durham with his sick wife and child.
Opposition MPs have accused Number 10 of a “cover-up” and called for the Prime Minister’s top aide to resign after it emerged that he had driven 250 miles despite the guidelines on travelling.
But Mr Cummings told reporters: “I behaved reasonably and legally.”
When a reporter suggested to him outside his London home that the trip to Durham did not look good, he replied: “Who cares about good looks.?
“It’s a question of doing the right thing. It’s not about what you guys think.”
His comments follow a statement from Downing Street which said the actions of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser were in line with guidelines, and reports that his family were spoken to by police were incorrect.
A spokesman said: “Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.
“His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.
“His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.
“At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported.
“His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”
Durham Constabulary said in a statement on Friday that officers contacted the owners of a property on March 31, more than a week after the lockdown had been imposed by the PM, when they were made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London .
Speaking on Friday, a spokesman for the force said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.
“Officers made contact with the owners of that address, who confirmed that the individual in question was present and was self-isolating in part of the house.
“In line with national policing guidance, officers explained to the family the arrangements around self-isolation guidelines and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel.”
The force declined to update its statement after the Downing St comment.
But Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Steve White said officers “acted appropriately”.
Mr White, the former head of the Police Federation in England and Wales, said it was “most unwise” for the Downing Street adviser to have travelled when “known to be infected”.
The Prime Minister must explain exactly when he knew about the breaking of the rules, whether he sanctioned it, why Cummings wasn’t sacked immediately and why it appears that he tried to cover it up