Dominic Cummings' press conference did not answer fundamental question

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

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image source, AFP

Dominic Cummings' rose garden confessional was a bold move designed to take the drama out of a crisis.

But giving detailed answers to why he at the very least broke the spirit of the lockdown rules does not answer the fundamental question now - is his continued presence in Downing Street more of a hindrance than a help to Boris Johnson?

Tempers may have cooled slightly on the Conservative backbenches, but there are still calls for him to go, both private and public.

And some senior Conservative MPs are still aghast at how much political capital the prime minister has burned through to keep Mr Cummings at his side. Opposition leaders still intend to push for his departure.

The man respected by Mr Johnson for judging the public mood has made himself famous for falling foul of that opinion.

His explanations may ease some of the anger. But in Westminster and beyond, it will not disappear overnight.

And when the prime minister is interrogated by senior MPs on Wednesday his decisions over Dominic Cummings will surely be on the list.

For just as his adviser's decisions at the end of March are at issue, so too are Mr Johnson's instincts to allow him to stay.

Of course the exploits of one man pale alongside the vast challenges for the country - for public health, and for the economy too.

But just at the moment when the government needs to build confidence for the country's slow emergence from lockdown to the world outside, its focus has been the behaviour and judgement of those on the inside, at the very top.

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