LONDON — Boris Johnson faced calls on Saturday to fire his chief aide after he allegedly flouted social distancing rules when he was ill with coronavirus symptoms.
Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief adviser, visited his parents when he was ill with covid-19 symptoms, according to reports in the Guardian and Mirror newspapers, which were splashed across their front pages.
Cummings’s parents live in Durham, about 250 miles away from his home in east London. The government’s guidance at the time was to stay at home except in very limited circumstances.
Opposition lawmakers said that if Cummings had broken the guidelines, then he needed to go.
“It is as simple as that,” said Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Cummings is Johnson’s key adviser and a larger-than-life figure in British politics. His leading role in the 2016 Brexit campaign was portrayed by the actor Benedict Cumberbatch in an HBO film “Brexit: The Uncivil War.”
In late March, Cummings was seen rushing out of 10 Downing Street, shortly after Johnson and Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive for coronavirus.
Downing Street said in an emailed statement that at the time Cummings’s family needed help with child care, and so they “went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.”
The statement added that Cummings “believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”
Earlier this month, Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist whose work has been pivotal in the British government’s response to the outbreak, quit his government advisory role after he was found to have breached lockdown rules to meet his married lover.
Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, also resigned from her post after she made two trips to her second home.