LEADING political figures in south Cumbria have been critical of the Government over the controversy surrounding its chief political adviser’s 264-mile trip to Durham during lockdown.

The former leader of Barrow Borough Council and the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale both commented after Dominic Cummings addressed the public in a rare media appearance broadcast yesterday evening.

Cllr Dave Pidduck, said town residents had ‘the right to be upset’.

“It’s the fact that it’s that kind of distance which shocks people so much,” said Cllr Pidduck.

“I think people have the right to be upset if you know you’re carrying or likely to carry the illness.

“Dominic Cummings did know (his wife had coronavirus symptoms) and still chose to travel - which was the wrong decision.

“A lot of people are very angry about it, including the Labour leader and members of Boris Johnson’s party.”

South Lakes MP Tim Farron went further with his criticisms, arguing that the longer Mr Cummings remained in his job, the more it undermined the Government.

He said: “Millions of people have made huge sacrifices over the past couple of months.

“Many haven’t been able to see parents, grandparents, loved ones before they died or weren’t able to say goodbye to them at their funeral because they were following the lockdown rules.

“It cannot be one rule for the those in Downing Street and another for the rest of us.

“Perhaps worst of all is that the actions of Mr Cummings - and of the Prime Minister in refusing to take action - have undermined the Government’s vital messages about following the guidance, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

“This sorry saga puts at risk the whole national effort to defeat this awful virus.

“Dominic Cummings must go.”

Mr Cummings arrived half an hour late for yesterday's extraordinary briefing, in which he said he had ‘acted reasonably’ and ‘did not regret’ his decision to make trips from London to his parents’ home in Durham during lockdown, knowing he had been infected with coronavirus.

Calls for his dismissal had mounted over the course of the bank holiday weekend.

Barrow MP Simon Fell was not available for comment.